You want to scream, "Check out your sense of entitlement," at the characters in Paul Downs Colaizzo's richly evocative debut play Really Really, an MCC production downtown at the Lucille Lortel Theater, directed by David Cromer. That line, so memorable from Lena Dunham's film Tiny Furniture, may not go far enough to cover the dire consequences of actions taken by this college group, illustrating a "Generation Me" philosophy that hews terrifyingly close to a Darwinian survival of the fittest. This is the generation born after Roe v. Wade, the most wanted generation, Colaizzo explained at the opening last week, defined by extreme narcissism and outsized sense of entitlement.
On campus, a rape has taken place, or it hasn't. The victim is pregnant, or maybe not. The predator is a jock/ an A student. He may be expelled, or worse, just before final exams. Justice must be served for this heinous act. But then again, what really really happened? A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. That the moral compass of victim and perpetrator wavers in the viewers' minds speaks to the ingenuity of this riveting play.
As it opens, Grace (Lauren Culpepper) and her roommate Leigh (Zosia Mamet) enter their apartment after a party. Moving slowly, teetering on platforms, are these girls merely drunk? The next morning, blood is an issue, then again, they've landed in the same bed, so who's to know what injury belongs to whom? As the scene shifts from the girls to the boys, buff hunks, the language becomes more charged with jock one-upmanship, until a text comes with some disturbing news for Davis (Matt Lauria), who unfortunately cannot remember a thing.
When first penned, Colaizzo said, that text was a phone call. At 27, he has worked this ethos for six years, shaping a dialogue for the new era, a communication punctuated by texts and tweets. The first-rate ensemble also includes David Hull, Evan Jonigkeit, Kobi Libii, and Aleque Reid who plays Haley, Leigh's sister. Her presence offers a glimpse of Leigh's socio-economic background, which might explain her various fabrications.
Ben Stiller, Kathleen Turner, David Mamet and Claudia Weill, a director of a recent Girls episode congratulated the cast on opening night last week. Back in '70s, Weill directed Girlfriends, a film that like Really Really dared to ask: What are your goals? What does it take to lead a satisfying life? Or in Really Really terms: Do you want to be a balloon or a crockpot?
Zosia Mamet wore floral print pants by her favorite designer Honor to the afterparty. Admittedly, Really Really is cut from the same cultural cloth as her HBO series Girls. "None of us ever expected this thing to be this thing," she said about its success. "It's surreal." To the comment, it takes a brave woman to wear a bold print, she says, "I love a bold print."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.