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'Search and Destroy'

February 03, 1990

Of late, some of my friends and I have been wondering why we renewed our subscriptions for the South Coast Repertory. The other night we encountered a prime example of the reason for our hesitation: We went to see "Search and Destroy."

We are of the opinion that officials at SCR and the local newspaper critics should be charged with fraud and misrepresentation. "Search and Destroy" is not a play at all. It is a series of short, loosely related, well-acted but mostly distasteful episodes. It is also a mildly interesting exercise in the use of ages-old obscenities, possibly setting a record for cramming them into a single sentence. Indeed, if you deleted the four-letter words and their variations from the dialogue, "Search and Destroy" would be virtually a pantomime.

The purpose of this letter is not merely to criticize. It is also to suggest and urge that SCR's artists and the local media get their heads out of the clouds, their eyes out of the stars and their feet back on the ground. Otherwise, it might turn out that thousands of discerning theatergoers--like the innocent child in "The Emperor's New Clothes"--may penetrate the mists of mysticism, metaphysics and mesmerism and emerge with a plain, unvarnished truth: "The Emperor isn't wearing anything at all."

ALLYN M. SUFFENS

Irvine

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