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It's awfully cerebral for a story about love -- but we dig that door-slamming scene

Wednesday, Dec 17 2003
Charles Mee has mastered a playwriting formula all his own that mixes farce, theories of love, and the ancient Greeks. Wintertime throws in an homage to Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale for good measure, but still manages not to be profound. When two young lovers, Ariel and Jonathan, arrive at a snowbound "summer house" in the woods, they're surprised to find Jonathan's mother there with François, her lover, as well as Frank, Jonathan's dad, with his lover, Edmund. Add a pair of lesbians named Hilda and Bertha and you have the makings of a ferocious romp in the snow that culminates, before intermission, in a hilarious door-slamming scene involving a large free-standing red door rolled on just so everyone can slam it with a satisfying smack in somebody else's face. Charles Dean plays a local named Bob who delivers a composter on his snowmobile and offers everyone clever advice from Plato. (Dean gives a beautifully dry performance.) Otherwise the play is awfully cerebral for a story about love. For almost 2 1/2 hours Mee lets each character rip around the stage in funny but not really emotional arias of heartbreak and pain -- throwing dishes, busting chairs -- and after a while it begins to feel rote, and suspiciously similar to Mee's other plays.


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