Free sex and cussing

Sexual Perversity in Chicago

This definitely looks like a good Valentine’s Day date.

This definitely looks like a good Valentine’s Day date.

Photo by Misty Day

Sexual Perversity in Chicago; 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday; free. Capital Stage, 2215 J Street; (916) 995-5464; Through February 21.

Rated 4.0

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the intrepid interns at Capital Stage have mounted their own small production of David Mamet’s expletive-drenched portrait of dysfunctional relationships between singles of the ’70s, Sexual Perversity in Chicago—replete with insults and arguments (some heard in bars, others in bedrooms). And there’s even a performance on February 14—talk about a date opportunity!

The script premiered in Chicago in ’74 and caused a stir when mounted Off Broadway two years later, putting Mamet on the map (and raising the hackles of feminists). Seeing the play now performed by 20-somethings born in the ’90s is an interesting experience—especially for a reviewer who was 20-something and single when this play was widely staged in the late ’70s.

The story involves two men and two women. The relationship between Bernie (actor Russell S. Down, also appearing in Cap Stage’s Ideation) and Danny (Torin Lusebrink, from Cap Stage’s Anna Karenina) sort of recalls the Humphry Bogart-Woody Allen scenes from Allen’s comedy Play It Again, Samexcept that the profane Bernie is peddling X-rated advice and over-the-top tales of conquest, and Mamet’s take on relationships is exceedingly dark. His script is pretty much the polar opposite of “romance.”

Bernie tries (and fails) to pick up Joan (Sara Rothaus) over drinks with his crude come-ons. Danny, however, manages to connect with Deborah (Madilyn Cooper), and soon they are in bed, before establishing anything more than sex as a basis for their relationship. Naturally, Danny and Deborah start arguing, with caustic ripostes from Bernie and Joan (“I tried to warn ya”).

The acting’s steady-to-good, and directors Jenna Cedusky and Chloe King handle the scenes deftly. Admission is free, but make a donation because these interns have earned it!