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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Really Really

Really Really
Bethany Anne Lind and
Danny Gavigan

In a remarkable coincidence of timing, Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, is presenting the premiere production of Really Really at the same time that, elsewhere in Virginia, an elite college athlete is on trial, accused of causing the death of another student athlete. Playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo has captured the raw emotions and polarizing attitudes in his fictional dissection of sex and violence on campus.

The action takes place concurrently in two student apartments (well designed and detailed by Misha Kachman): the kitchen-dining room shared by Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind) and Grace (Lauren Culpepper) and the living room of varsity rugby players Cooper (Evan Casey) and Davis (Jake Odmark). The play begins as Leigh and Grace stagger in from a party, very drunk and barely able to stand on their high heels; while Grace heads off to shower and sleep, Leigh searches her cell phone in vain for messages from her boyfriend, Jimmy (Danny Gavigan). Meanwhile, Cooper and teammate Johnson (Paul James) talk about the previous night's blowout, specifically about Davis' drunken hookup with one of the guests. That ambiguous encounter—was it consensual or forcible?—forms the crux of the drama.

Colaizzo, who is only 26, places his contemporaries in the spotlight: the members of "Generation Me," whom he sees as overly entitled and imbued with the sense that "the laws don't apply to us." Grace addresses the theme explicitly, addressing a group of high achievers about the importance of "healthy selfishness" in building their futures.

The play is structured in such a way that each scene, each new character, upends the expectations of the previous one—and director Matthew Gardiner and his skillful cast make the most of the building tension. The uneasy friendship between Leigh and Grace; the uncertainty between Leigh and Jimmy; the conflict among Cooper, a slacker who doesn't think the college experience should be limited to only four years, and Davis and Johnson, sons of wealth who want to chart their own courses in life; and the arrival of Leigh's sister Haley (Kim Rosen) from a totally different world add layers of meaning.

While the entire cast works together as smoothly as interlocking gears, Lind is riveting in the pivotal role and Casey stands out as a college student who never lets his classes get in the way of what's really important.

Signature Theatre
Really Really
January 31st - March 25th
By Paul Downs Colaizzo
Leigh: Bethany Anne Lind
Grace: Lauren Culpepper
Johnson: Paul James
Cooper: Evan Casey
Davis: Jake Odmark
Jimmy: Danny Gavigan
Haley: Kim Rosen
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
ARK Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, VA 22206
Ticket Information: 703-820-9771 or 1-800-955-5566 or www.signature-theatre.org


Photo: Scott Suchman


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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