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TO JUNE 4
Bright primary colors make the U.S. premiere of Gustavo Ott’s dark, murder-of-a-talk-show-host dramedy look remarkably like Dick Tracy. As a stenographer (crimson plastic vest, shoes, and miniskirt) struggles to keep pace, a detective (yellow fedora, lavender suit, orange shirt) interrogates a suspect named Mauricio (royal blue slacks, turquoise shirt, black-and-fuschia jacket) about a crime Mauricio intended to commit, but didn’t. The text is pure whodunit with motives to spare; the subtext concerns the media’s capacity to unleash violence among unpredictable, emotionally starved listeners. Considering such recent phenomena as the Jenny Jones episode and events in Oklahoma, the play couldn’t be more timely, though it was written more than a decade ago in Venezuela. Abel Lopez’s staging is brisk, authoritative, and well acted (in Spanish with simultaneous English translation on headsets). The only mystery it leaves unexplored is why the company decided to translate the author’s original title into English (Pavlov: El Perro y la Campana) while going with his better, revised title in Spanish (Pavlov: 2 Segundos Antes del Crimen which translates literally as “Pavlov: 2 Seconds Before the Crime”). At 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; matinee at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Gala Hispanic Theater, 1624 Park Rd. NW. $16-18. (202) 234-7174. (Bob Mondello)