Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise and Springtime, Green Highway Theater, at Cafe Voltaire. Beth and Carl are having an affair. Carl's wife, Adele, has cut her wrists--not fatally--and now claims her unfaithful spouse wants to kill her. Beth's husband, Alvin, hides in optimistic denial. Everything comes to a climax at a dinner party where everyone vents. Harry Kondoleon's Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise isn't very funny, but director Brian Thompson wisely treats it as if it were--with food, flatware, and crockery flying in all directions. And Lisa Friedman makes Beth a frustrated poet whose unleashed fury has all the power of a tornado somehow imprisoned on the tiny stage.
The curtain-raiser for this lightweight but amusing farce is Maria Irene Fornes's Springtime, a tale of two lesbians and the man who comes between them. Under Janel Winter's direction, Leanne Beauregard and Carol Roscoe trade dialogue and eye contact with a ladylike politeness that adds nothing to Fornes's flatly minimalist--and thankfully short--narrative.
--Mary Shen Barnidge