The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? | $24-$27 | through July 16 | Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, 20 Windsor Street, 325-4370, www.downstairscabaret.com |
News flash! Men and women are different. You're shocked, aren't you? I know, it's scandalous news. Take a minute to digest. This stunning revelation is the theme of The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?, Robert Dubac's one-man show, now playing at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre.
Bobby, presumably some dramatized version of Dubac himself, awaits a phone call from his estranged fiancé. (Ben Evans takes over the role from Dubac late this month.) On her way out the door she informed Bobby, "I want what every woman wants...Figure it out!" She promised to call in two weeks. That was one week, 6 days, and approximately 23 hours ago. He considers the downfall of their relationship and tries to remember the name of her cat, the little creature that, when Bobby refused to allow the pussy between the sheets, became the straw that broke the relationship camel's back. The cat is named for what all women (supposedly) want. Bobby figures that if he can remember the name, he can save his relationship.
The set represents Bobby's brain. On his right side, the feminine, emotional side, is a blank chalkboard. Bobby needs to fill this board in order to fulfill his fiancé's needs. On the left, his male, logical side, is a clutter of discarded clothes, reference books, a worn couch, cases of beer, and a small T.V. with a bra stretched across the antenna. Symbolic of all the crap that blocks his truly understanding his woman, the "logical" side is where Bobby claims men spend 90 percent of their time. By the way, check out the gaping hole in the plaster, which looks suspiciously likes a cat's head.
Dubac has created a cast of chauvinists, from whom Bobby has learned all he knows about women. In this case, it's the blind leading the blind. The chauvinists are stock characters: the Colonel, Jean-Michel, Fast Eddie, Old Mr. Linger, and Ronnie Cabrezzi. They are stereotypes: the southern hunter, the chain smoking Frenchie, the Fonzie wannabe, the dirty old man, and the tough Guido. Each character is amusing, even if you've seen them all before. Each takes his turn giving Bobby advice, each lending one characteristic to the list of traits he must embody in order to satisfy his fiancé. Of course, each character is capable of providing only one trait necessary to satisfy a woman.
Jean-Michel is a philosophy student who spits out deep musings like, "Women don't need to think, they know everything." He goes on about how sexy it is to speak French, but never actually speaks any French. The Colonel steps right out of a Jeff Foxworthy redneck sketch with his insights on informing women up front that he's an asshole. And Fast Eddie, the "passion philanthropist," is an attempt, gone awry, to stuff Jack Nicholson into a Fonzie costume.
Old Mr. Linger, the centenarian bachelor still fishing for Miss Right, is charming and does have the great sense of humor he purports to. He claims that as long as he has something to wait for, he'll never die. And he's waiting for the perfect woman. Although the faux Bronx accent is a muddled impression of Father Guido Sarducci and Speedy Gonzalez, Ronnie Cabrezzi is undeniably charming with his whining, machine gun of a laugh and his "not afraid of nothin'" view on sensitivity.
The most entertaining pieces of the show occur when Dubac drops the stale characters and returns to believable, everyday guy Bobby. His honest appraisal of the breakdown of a relationship hits home. You won't hear anything that hasn't been hashed and rehashed on countless sitcoms in the battles of the sexes, but you'll be engaged and inspired to chuckle.