Mamet tackles women and wordplay in Whitehorse

Ever heard of a "Byzantine rodomontade"? Neither had Stephen Drover. The director of the Guild's upcoming production, Boston Marriage, is used to working with "dense classical text," and specializes in Shakespeare.

Ever heard of a “Byzantine rodomontade”?

Neither had Stephen Drover.

The director of the Guild’s upcoming production, Boston Marriage, is used to working with “dense classical text,” and specializes in Shakespeare.

But David Mamet’s Boston Marriage is a completely different beast.

“I agreed to come direct the play before reading the script,” said Drover.

“After reading it, I recognized it would be a challenge.”

Full of word play and sesquipedalianisms (big words), the script is reminiscent of Shakespeare, but without the metre and rhythm, which makes it tricky.

“It’s kind of a Franken-hybrid,” said Drover.

“And it’s hard to place it in a contemporary lens, because they don’t speak like we do.”

The characters have “a delicious use of words,” he said.

“Anyone who likes language and wordplay will delight in it.”

Good use of language is “a muscle that has atrophied in our society,” with LOL and OMG replacing words like rodomontade, said Drover.

Mamet’s skill as a playwright allows him to tap into the audiences instincts, “so even if you don’t know what a word means, you know what it means,” he said.

“There is a shared humour in the communal understanding of something we didn’t think we understood.”

Drover worked on plenty of Mamet in grad school.

But Boston Marriage is unique.

Mamet is known for writing macho male plays.

“He’s been called misogynist, sexist and been accused of not being able to write for women,” said Drover. “Usually the women in his plays only act as props for the male’s journey.”

Boston Marriage turns all these preconceptions on their head.

Not only is it written exclusively for women, but Mamet paints a very disparaging portrait of men.

“The only thing a man is good for is choking a horse,” says one of the women in the script.

“Men live to be deceived,” says another.

“It’s very unusual for Mamet’s pen,” said Drover.

“It’s both entertaining and a bit provoking.”

Had Boston Marriage been written by a feminist, it might be seen as anger, he said. “But because it was written by Mamet, I wonder if this gives it more latitude.”

Billed as a bawdy, corset-popping, verbal roller-coaster, the parlour comedy tackles raunchy subject matter with tact.

“The characters walk the line of being prudes who are still able to articulate bawdy thoughts without using words like ‘sex,’” said Drover.

Instead of talking about “a quickie,” for example, they refer to “a vile assignation.”

Set in 1900, the production features two scheming women of fashion and a hapless, not-so-innocent maid, caught up in a succulent, sensuous world.

First and foremost, it’s entertaining, said Drover.

But good art has to walk two paths.

Entertainment comes first, “or you don’t stay,” he said. “But it also needs to be challenging.”

Popular TV shows, like Two and A Half Men, “don’t really force you to lean forward and work,” said Drover.

But when you’ve contributed and been challenged, you become invested, he said.

“Good art should meet you half way, and not make you work too hard,” he added.

Drover made his Whitehorse directing debut with the Guild’s production of Laughter on the 21st Floor, in 2007. And it’s amazing he found time to return.

Drover runs his own theatre company in Vancouver, is the artist in residence for another company and is the production manager for a third company.

While here, he’s also producing another project in Vancouver and starts rehearsals for a new production in the city the day after Boston Marriage opens.

But Drover hasn’t always lived and breathed theatre.

“I came into it late and very irresponsibly,” he said.

As a pre-med student, he was convinced by a friend during a very drunken evening to take theatre as an elective.

Now Drover delivers well-crafted productions instead of babies.

“Theatre chose me,” he said.

Boston Marriage opens Wednesday, November 16 and runs until December 3 at the Guild Hall in Porter Creek. There’s a $5 preview on Tuesday, November 15, and a pay-what-you-can performance on Wednesday, November 23.

The production is also touring to Dawson City for a special presentation at the Odd Fellows Hall on Monday, November 28.

All shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Whitehorse Motors and at the door. Contact 633-3550 for more information.

Audience members are encouraged to don top hats, tails, tiaras and pearls for a night out on the town.

Contact Genesee Keevil at gkeevil@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Most Read