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The creators, cast, and crew of Charter Theatre’s latest dramatical endeavor request the pleasure of your company for an evening at the Theatah, in which it is expected that your consciousness will be raised, your horizons broadened, your sensitivities further sensitized, and your empathy engorged. You will, in sum, learn something profound about the human condition.
Or perhaps someone will wave a dildo at you.
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Because in truth, F.U. (subtitled Forgive Us—What’d You Think We Meant?) is the smartass love-child you might get if The Office ducked into the supply closet at the holiday party with Glengarry Glen Ross, and to the extent that anyone associated with it has actually given any thought to the human condition, the verdict is apparently that it’s laughably debased. Corporate drones scheme, sleep around, and suck up in various directions, while among them a lone decent shlub (a winningly woebegone Michael Skinner) wonders why he can’t catch a break—or the person who’s screwing his wife (a nicely saucy Allyson Currin). When he finally finds out, he plots bloody murder, and it’s looking like he might get away with it, too, though not before that dildo makes its appearance.
It’s all shocking, shocking, I tell you, and it’s all apparently most distressing to the actors performing F.U., who—following on a faux-highfalutin prologue that’s all about the depth of their theatrical calling, and in between some quick-change multicharacter transformations that must be a lot harder than they look—keep stepping out of the action to distance themselves from the material. The sensitive dears.
So after each chauvinist vulgarism, each offensive ethnic stereotype, each sexually charged spanking and socially unacceptable assertion, Bridges and director Joe Banno serve up somebody (the confident physical comedian
Ray Ficca, perhaps, or the fearlessly tarty Sarah Melinda) to explain how wrong, how tacky, how unpardonable it all is, and how they’re only doing it because the playwright said so, and because soon enough the underlying “message”—don’t think they don’t say it with air quotes—will make clear why they’ve had to show us all these unfortunately messy moments.
Which makes it clear, pretty quickly, that in essence F.U. is in fact a cheerful “Fuck you”—a loud, wet raspberry in the direction of piercing Mamet-style dramas, intense process-driven actors, and uppity audiences who think theatergoing makes them smarter than couch potatoes.
And like most fart noises, it’s good, stupid fun for a bit. After which there’s roughly 45 minutes to go.