Playwright: Brad T Gottfred. At: Cyur Studios at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Phone: 773-404-7336;$29.69. Runs through: Sept. 25
Early in the play, the female characters announce the title as shown on the playbill, but seconds later, their male counterparts make a similar pronouncement, inverting the syntax to "Men are assholes because women are crazy,", one going so far as to add "fucking crazy!"
Brad T. Gottfred's bedroom farcemaking its last stop in Chicago before proceeding to New York (off-Broadway)proves both assessments to be accurate: after two years of internet chat, Dylan has traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles for his first face-to-face with Nicole, who has invited eight of her confidantes to witness the occasion. Unknown to the hostess, however, all her guests are currently in the process of breaking up. Benny and Reynold's phallocentric indifference to their girl friends' insecurities threaten to drive the latter into the arms of other menor women. Then there is the smartly intuitive Phoenix, who feels stifled by her brainy consort. Finally, there are the absent Hillary and George, who squabble constantly, but just can't quit each other. Put them together with cupid firing blindly in all directions and is it any wonder that pandemonium quickly ensues?
A cursory look at the live performance scene in and around America's cinema capitalwhere Crazy/A**holes premieredwill reveal a preponderance of happy-ever-after romantic comedies, for reasons comprising a topic for another occasion. Certainly, no one ever lost money proposing attractive young people engaging in double entendres and sim-sex. Gottfred's scenario delivers these elements in abundance (no nudity, but some graphic under-the-covers lesbian digitation), while also exploring the limits of lust as a basis for lasting relationships. Friendship, common interests, following your bliss, stepping outside your comfort zone, accepting each other's imperfections and other quasi-marital issues are held up to scrutiny. Even those who ultimately choose to uphold the status quo emerge the wiser for having examined the motives for their decision.
This lesson, dating back to Plautus, is dressed up in shiny new garb by the Cyur Studios actors, many from the original production. The denouement could be pared down by a few minutes, and the introduction of a juvenile-fiction metaphor (providing an explanation for the color-scheme of the costumes and decor) borders on precocity. That said, fans of old-fashioned sentiment should enjoy this final taste of summery sweets before hunkering down for a winter of heavy drama.