They”re gonna talk about sex, they”re gonna talk about love, they”re gonna betray, seduce and swear like sailors. Patrick Marber”s “Closer,” a tangled tale of two men and two women and the eroticism between them, will be presented this weekend by Basement Arts. It is a ruthless and mature investigation of those two all-powerful elements which never cease to intrigue and change us love and sex. “What”s so great about the truth?” Marber asks. “The truth hurts people, try lying for a change. It”s the currency of the world.”
“Closer” was originally produced in London, where it received the 1997 Critics Circle “Best Play Award” and the 1998 Olivier Award for “Best New Play.” Recently, the play enjoyed a six-month run on Broadway. It will be shown in the Arena Theater at 7 p.m. from March 22-24 with an additional 11 p.m. show on Friday. The Ann Arbor production is directed by Peter Maris and stars Sandra Abrevaya, Audra Ewing, Maclain Looper, and Ryan Powell, all students in the University School of Theater.
“Any person, college student or otherwise, who has lived enough to have experienced love and relationships will be able to identify with these characters,” Maris said. “The play deals with questions of intimacy. It is entitled “Closer,” and yet one of the questions that the play raises is: How close are we to the people we love? How well do we really know the people we fall in love with?”
This is no Dawson”s Creek, however. “This is the kind of play that one only sees in The Basement because the issues and language are too strong for the University to sanction it as a U-Prod,” said Maris. “Closer” has been described as shocking, obscene or, as put by the London Daily Telegraph, “like a kick in the groin or a spit in the face.”
The story follows two couples through four years of their relationships. Alice, a stripper, is hit by a taxicab and is picked up by Dan, an obituary writer who aspires for more. Larry, a sex-obsessed doctor, is talking in an Internet porn chat room to Dan, who is posing as his photographer friend Anna. When Larry asks to arrange a date, Dan sends the real Anna and thus, their relationship begins. The audience is thrust into the lives of these people, and their intensity becomes glaringly real. “To some members of the audience it”s a horrible reminder of what they”ve been through,” Marber said. “To others, who are going through this stuff at the same time as they are watching the play, there is a strong element of recognition. I”ve had letters from people saying, “You”ve written my life, how did you know?””