Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THEATER BEAT

'Full Court Press' on Race and Bigotry Misses Its Shot

June 07, 1996|SCOTT COLLINS

In his new drama "Full Court Press," a West Coast Ensemble production at the Lex, Donald Lewis becomes the latest playwright to attack the great American bugbear of racism.

His choice of setting and situation is unusual. The eight characters are hard-core pro basketball fans who gather in the men's room of a Chicago hotel on the day of the NBA draft. There, the ethnically mixed crew bickers about the draft, game statistics and Michael Jordan. And--oh, yes--for the finale, their exchange also erupts into a fatal race riot.

The play seems sincere in its desire to explore bigotry but has little new or insightful to say about the subject. Many of the exchanges have a windy, platitudinous feel, as if they had been concocted for corporate sensitivity training.

But Lewis also undermines himself with the absurd setting (toilet flushes are a running joke), seemingly irrelevant pro sports context and consistently unlikable characters--including a boorish columnist (David Mark Peterson), cab-driving yahoo (Robert Gantzos), stat-quoting kid (David Kaufman) and arrogant former NBA star (Christopher B. Duncan).

Director Claudia Jaffee's staging is handsome and professional, but probably no amount of prepping could make "Full Court Press" ready for the game.

* "Full Court Press," West Coast Ensemble / at the Lex, 6760 Lexington, Hollywood. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m. Ends July 14. $15. (213) 871-1052. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|