There might be something more going on in David Wiltse's
, the office-space farce currently slamming doors on People's Light and Theatre Company's Steinbright stage. The play is set in the corridors and closets of Putts, a golfing magazine whose minimally competent staff is about to be leveled in a corporate takeover. Except, aside from a few unfortunate encounters with clubs, there's precious little golfing afoot.
Given the many Shakespeare allusions, along with the mysterious Ben Johnson, who may be assessing everyone's performance and reporting to headquarters - and who shares a moniker, if not spelling, with Ben Jonson, the Bard's rival in playwriting and poetry - there must be more, right?
Well, if there is, I didn't tease it out, and then again, it may not even matter. Wiltse's characters and Steve Umberger's direction provide enough "look at me" distraction to make deeper intellectual inquiry entirely beside the point. Umberger knows when to hold 'em and when to toss 'em out, flailing.
Pete Pryor's writer Carter stomps around like a rabid Tasmanian devil, particularly when confronted with Mary McCool's Temple, who expresses professional ambition not by sweating in front of a computer but by minimizing the length of her skirts.
Every conversation with Tom Teti's Otis, elderly scion of the Putts empire, becomes a cooperative effort to translate his aphasic senior moments. Julia Stroup's mousy Jane can't form a coherent sentence around a male, while Mary Elizabeth Scallen's editor/dominatrix Sam has a distressing habit of combining sexual innuendo with equestrian metaphor. Meanwhile, Andrew Kane's Johnson takes the Peter Sellers approach to physical comedy: a three-piece suit and bulky horn-rims look funny in pratfalls; a straight face makes them even funnier.
They're given ample assistance by costumer Marla Jurglanis, who ratchets up Temple's teen taste in skimpy clothes (though why the slightly too-sensible shoes?) while cloaking Jane with near-Victorian modesty, down to her ankle-length bloomers.
The cast runs like a hormonally charged, well-oiled (if loosely bolted) machine, and Wiltse's dialogue mostly hits its mark. A typical exchange:
Temple, bending over: "Do you think this skirt is too revealing?"
Johnson: "It's up to you."
Temple: "Up to my what?"
Now that it's summer, who needs more than that? But please, if you figure out Wiltse's literary puzzle, by all means, let me know. And if you don't, that's just fine, too.