If you like despicable characters with no values or redemption–and you like to hear them talk as much as they love to hear themselves talk- then you’re going to love Hurlyburly. The 1984 play by David Rabe is currently receiving a competent revival by the Variations Theatre Group. It follows casting directors Eddie (Kirk Gostkowski), Phil (Brandon Scott Hughes), and Micky (Deven Anderson), on their painfully long road of self-indulgences and ultimate implosions. Along the way, they meet Donna (Rachel Cora), Darlene (Christina Elise Perry), and Bonnie (Jacklyn Collier) all three of whom are involved in love triangles in the apartment shared by these Hollywood “hot shots.” Much like a David Mamet play, the women are used, abused, and tossed away-all against the backdrop of their booze binging, pill popping, coke snorting, misogynistic leading men. Sweet people, huh?
Tales of glamorous gluttony may have been unique in 1984. Rabe’s story earned him a 1985 Tony nomination for best play and its original length exceeded 3 hours. Since then, we’ve seen Hollywood itself cover the topic: Oliver Stone’s iconic Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987), George Huang’s depiction of a ruthless movie producer in Swimming With Sharks (1994), and Steve McQueen’s glimpse of a sexually addicted advertising executive in Shame (2011) . All of them summarized their points with much more concision and focus. While Variation’s production has been presented with special permission by the playwright, it still clocks in at two hours and forty five minutes. By the end, after we’ve endured endless, substance fueled diatribes, we are ready to yell, “Enough, already!” Perhaps that is the point? Yet Director Rich Ferraioli has assembled a committed and capable (albeit mostly miscast) group of players who must be recognized for the stamina and determination it takes to bring this show to life. For those unfamiliar with Hurlyburly who wish to add more knowledge to their personal theater history archives, head to the intimate Chain theater and purchase an affordable ticket.
Hurlyburly, presented by Variations Theatre Group runs through Saturday March 1st at the Chain Theater (21-48 45th Road Long Island City, NY) For tickets and more information, visit http://variationstheatregroup.com/newsite/hurlyburly/.