Through November 18|
SPEED-THE-PLOW Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
When David Mamet’s “Speed-The Plow” first opened 30 years ago, it was a satire about Hollywood, enlivened in the initial production with Madonna as Karen, the temp.
It’s probably based on some of the Hollywood guys Mamet dueled with in his Hollywood years.
It‘s two film guys, new Head of Production Bobby Gould (Matt Witten) and close aide Charlie Fox (Kevin Kennedy) being guys.
Fox has come to Gould with a “slush pile” script and a major movie star who wants to come from another studio to make that script, one of the action movies for which he’s famous and rich.
It’s a chance to make a lot of money because the combination of the star and the script are guaranteed to make a boatload.
Kevin and Bobby cavort around the office celebrating and talking about what they will do with the money, celebrating in pleasurable absolute greed.
It’s money-obsessed guys being guys.
There’s this book sitting on Gould’s desk, sent over by the head of the studio for a “courtesy read.”
It’s one of those complicated books by an “eastern writer” about the end of the world.
On this particular day, the secretary to the head of production is out, and in those days, she probably was a “secretary.”
Bobby wants to put the moves on Karen (Laura Barriere).
He gives her the book to read and invites her over to his house in the evening for a talk about the book.
After blowing the afternoon in a fancy restaurant with Kevin, Bobby has fun in mind and Karen is the anticipated toy.
She makes a pitch favoring the book and he succumbs and it’s clearly suggested she succumbs for the night.
In the AM, Bobby tells Kevin he’s going to make the intellectual book movie and not the potentially lucrative action movie., which could make Charlie rich.
They fight and Bobby bleeds and Karen admits she was willing to do anything to get the movie made, something Bobby could “greenlight.”
In the end, Bobby cleans up and goes with Kevin to meet the studio head and pitch the action flick.
It’s just assumed she’s there in the studio as visual candy and bed candy for a Hollywood elite, the same way the casting couch determined so much for men and women in the great days of the studios.
Because of the fog over Hollywood today, as #metoo changes everything, it’s impossible to determine how different from the old Tinseltown the new one will be.
We will have women up and down the movie food chain, mostly areas where women were, once upon a time, before the guys took over.
It’s hard to believe the studio predilection for movies which can make a great deal of money instead of just a little money will go away.
It’s just going to be determined with more women in the decision room and getting to the top in Hollywood probably means the same psych patterns will be in charge, male or female.
This is a three-character, one-act play getting a dynamite production in Road Less Traveled’s new theater on Lafayette Square, once an area with a lot of theaters.
It’s an interesting space, with 98 seats and RLTP’s take on the stage and entertainment.
Kennedy’s Fox is the most exciting part of the show, a nearly manic performance of excitement dancing around and acrobatically selling the Hollywood system.
Witten’s Bobby is fine but he’s an intellectual plotting to survive in the LA movie world and Barriere’s Karen is still old-fashioned movie eye candy.
Her best scenes are intellectually seducing bobby about the book.
Director Scott Behrend keeps a kinetic story moving rapidly on Dyan Burlingame’s set are a strong playground for the show.
“Speed the Plow” is a fascinating look at remnants of the old Hollywood going strong and the attitudes which created the current Hollywood which is under siege as people move to create the future Hollywood.
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