Rubik's Cubicle | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Rubik's Cubicle 

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Rubik's Cubicle, TinFish Theatre. The first act of this world premiere is flat and lifeless, but the second is unexpectedly engaging. It must have taken playwright Spencer Moser that long to figure out he wasn't writing biting satire (a la Glengarry Glen Ross) but screwball comedy (Bringing Up Baby).

Nick Maroon, on the other hand, seems to have recognized the genre right away: as Cal, the newcomer being gulled in this tale of a telephone con game, he's a triumph of appealing befuddlement from his very first line. But the second act gives everyone a chance to shine, since the actors get to play real people with real goals instead of cardboard cutouts with captions. Scott Harman in particular is far better as Howard the scheming, bashful lover than as Howard the asshole slacker, and Tom Lally as the boss, Dunsell, really goes to town when his character stops being a punch line and becomes a person--specifically a totally stoned person in a Hawaiian shirt. Likewise director Matthew Singletary seems far more at home with knockabout farce than with static cynicism.

It seems Moser is fundamentally good-natured, not at all comfortable with the misanthropy of such lines as "People are stupid." Instead he appears to believe that when people connive, they're trying to get good things, honor or happiness or love. When he fully accepts that he's not an asshole himself, he'll write terrific comedy.

--Kelly Kleiman


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