Second Thoughts: Some Guy(s)

There’s nothin’ you can do

To turn me away

Nothin’ anyone can say

You’re with me now

And as long as you stay

Lovin’ you’s the right thing to do

Lovin’ you’s the right thing…

I’ve got a prediction and a lament. I’ve seen some fine productions this summer around the DFW region. I predict when fall colors and temperatures afford welcome relief from August’s bleached out sultry frazzle, Second Thought Theatre’s Some Girl(s) by Neil Labute will have proven itself the audience hit of the summer crop.

Jessica Wiggers, Ashley Wood, Lulu Ward, Catherine Dubord

Jessica Wiggers, Ashley Wood, Lulu Ward, Catherine Dubord

Dallas loves its gorgeous, spunky women, particularly when they’re all decked out in full display – fashionable attire, plenty of visible cleavage, clean-shaven legs in full view up to there, risqué undies on a select few…the ladies of Some Girl(s) don’t disappoint in any such respect. What’s more, director Jonathan Taylor assembled five of the brightest female talents in the DFW pantheon to get down to the thespian business challenge of bringing the various gals to life. Captivating, nuanced, sexy, righteous, vindictive, wounded, vengeful, fully fleshed out, in every sense. Diane Worman, Catherine DuBord, Lulu Ward, Natalie Young, Jessica Wiggers. Eye candy with creative minds ablaze.

I know you’ve had some bad luck

With ladies before

They drove you or you drove them crazy

But more important is I know

You’re the one and I’m sure

Lovin’ you’s the right thing to do

Lovin’ you’s the right thing…

So what’s my lament? Ashley Wood’s portrayal of Guy, the Man, the pivot around which all these fulsome babes swing. Neil Labute writes exquisitely crafted, visually potent plays in which men are sometimes shown to be total jerks. In Guy’s case, he’s more complicated than that. How does Mr. Wood fall short? There’s hardly a woman alive over the age of 35 (unless she married early and hung in with it or joined a reactionary religious cult) who won’t recognize this type of codependent verging on sociopath man. He’s a true love addict, needs a woman’s touch and adoration as much as oxygen. He just can’t function unless he’s leaving one behind and wooing the next one, heart, mind, soul and body, a better one, he hopes, he prays. A goddess to fulfill all his needs.

Hold me in your hands like a bunch of flowers

Set me movin’ to your sweetest song

And I know what I think I’ve known all along

Lovin’ you’s the right thing to do

Lovin’ you’s the right thing

To perfect this serial synchrony, he has developed amazing technique that works every time, almost Pavlovian.  Know him, ladies? He’s not the handsomest man at the party, but he’s the warmest, the most empathetic. He looks deep into a woman’s soul with sincere, steady gaze, like no other has done before. His hand brushes hers so softly, or her cheek, or the nape of her neck with non-invasive innocence, sending electric shocks pulsing through her body. It’s how he reels her in. It’s so personal. And oh so calculated. And his lips, a bit moist and slightly parted, just beg for her kisses. Somehow he knows just the right moment to flick them with his tongue tip to catch her gaze. Mesmerizing. A human Venus flytrap. I suspect none of this went into developing Mr. Wood’s portrayal. His decision? The director’s?

Nothing you could ever do

Would turn me away from you

I love you now and I love you now

Labute understands this character implicitly.  This sort of man would never, ever return to revisit “old flames”– (the past is inconsequential; the current love is the only true one) — unless he had ulterior motives. As an audience, we need to see Guy re-work his magic on all the exceptional women from his past and wonder where he’s really going. The revelation of true motive should arrive, and satisfy, as a total zinger. Hence my lament. Mr. Wood plays Guy as a fun-loving ex-frat guy on a final bender before the chains of matrimony descend. It’s almost anticlimactic to learn the truth, and it’s harder to fathom what all the women saw/still see in him.  No meaningful eye contact, no sensual touch to captivate the imagination and fire off the afterburners. Darn. Perhaps if Second Thought had hired a female director to helm the production? Any number of wise womyn exist in the region, Latina and otherwise.

It’s still a fun show, just to see the sterling gaggle of gals do their artistic best and give Guy his comeuppance. Bound to top the list of audience preferred plays, Summer 2009.

Neil Labute’s Some Girl(s) runs through August 1st. Catch it fast.

Thursday @ 7:30pm, Fri-Sat @ 8pm.

Addison Theatre Centre Studio Space, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX.

Tickets: WaterTower Theatre Box Office 972-450-6232 or http://www.secondthoughttheatre.com

Even though you’re ten thousand miles away

I’ll love you tomorrow as I love you today

I’m in love babe

I’m in love with you babe

Let’s close now.

© 1972 Quackenbush Music Ltd., Carly Simon music & lyrics

Photo: Brian Bartaud

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