POST MORTEM Remember when 2008 seemed a million years away? A.R. Gurney's It Happened Here one-act (first produced in 2006) has some fun imagining a religiously authoritarian America of 2015, as well as its antidotal year of 2027. Alice (Anna Nicholas) teaches English at “a faith-based state university in the Midwest,” where she fends off the amorous impulses of a graduate student named Dexter (Alan Bruce Becker). Dexter has an ace up his sleeve — he's discovered the last play written by A.R. Gurney, whose name, a mere seven years from today, can be located only in a directory called Minor Figures in American Drama. “You mean there was someone named Gurney who wrote plays?” asks Alice. There are 75 minutes more of this kind of self-referential gag, along with jokes about The New York Times, public television and theater critics. The biggest one involves the recovered Gurney script, titled Post Mortem, which turns out to be an impassioned plea against Bush-era intolerance; thanks to Alice and Dexter, the script eventually single-handedly rolls back the neocon ice age, ushering in a feel-good epoch of political moderation. The “real”Post Mortem is more than just another contemporary burp of liberal indigestion, since Gurney has Alice (now famous and married to Dexter) ask, What will Americans substitute for the Christian right's agenda and how will it keep the latter completely at bay? Unfortunately, Gurney's good at asking the question but not at answering it, except to quote from A Streetcar Named Desire. Worse, having his characters go on prolonged rants against cell phones suggests he's not very good at predicting the future — or estimating the present. The acting, under Jared Barclay's direction, is reminiscent of a long comedy sketch — which is perhaps the best description of this play.
First Friday, Saturday of every month, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 4. Continues through March 2, 2008
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.