It's All Greek to Mee


Big Love: owed to a Grecian yearning
photo: Liz Lauren
Big Love: owed to a Grecian yearning

Details

True Love
By Charles L. Mee
The Zipper Theater
336 West 37th Street
212-239-6200

Big Love
By Charles L. Mee
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn
718-636-4100

While True Love's writing needs jumper cables on its cojones, Big Love's director should get the electric chair. Les Waters, head of the directing program at UCSD, which consistently graduates excellent actors, has used Mee's take on Aeschylus's The Suppliant Women as an occasion to subject New York to the cheapest middlebrow spectacle this side of Mamma Mia! Ruining fine performers with lame shtick and cheeseball antics, he forces Mee's acrid battle of the sexes into a frilly corsage box. Fifty Greek brides go AWOL in Italy, refusing to marry their cousins, but for Waters this means only one thing—an opportunity to show off wedding gowns! Waters even attempts to scoop an unambiguous, happy ending out of a play whose major plot turn involves the murder of 49 husbands. There isn't a fresh moment within 100 yards of the theater, just the putrid stench of broad acting, bad timing, and dumb Italian accents—you'd rather watch a marathon of Friends episodes. Scholars consider The Suppliant Women to be the oldest surviving play in Western literature. If its first production was anything like Big Love, it's a miracle that drama made it this far.

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