Neil LaBute’s ostensibly candid examination of race in America is embodied by a troubled interracial couple and an old classmate who stirs up more conjugal trouble. The white man with whom the wife has an affair gives the audience a play-by-play of his grotesque, bigoted interpretation of the formulaic love triangle with self-assured glee. Multiple times our narrator accuses the black husband of playing the race card, which he calls the “ace of spades”; if this sort of wit makes you uncomfortable, you will be repelled by the racism that comes later disguised as Everyman-speak about sex and power. In case you weren’t sure whether this offensive tirade has literary cred or not, LaBute includes a number of baseless references to Victorian novels and reminds us several times that our protagonist is a Writer, as though this fact will imbue his speeches with perception and insight. Moments of ambiguity between characters, which could have been thought-provoking, are over-determined to the point of triviality. The production is as problematic as the writing, with superfluous costume changes and use of dry-erase boards, ambivalent actors who seem wary of the script and over-reliance on lighting to signal flashbacks and pauses in plot for our writer’s soliloquies, which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. (Monica Westin)
At Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, (773)549-1815. This production is now closed.