Bad Manners | Chicago Reader

Bad Manners

Nancy's old boyfriend is a musicologist writing about a classic riff that's mysteriously appeared in the work of an obscure computer musician. Scheduled to give a talk at Harvard, he takes his research-assistant girlfriend—an enigmatic artificial-intelligence theorist—to Cambridge, where they stay with Nancy and her husband. Before the weekend is out at least one of the four has had some money stolen and at least two seem headed toward an affair. The ambiguities that confound the characters—who scrutinize and accuse one another, giving self-interested interpretations of disputed events—are supposed to be absorbing, suggesting the difference between the unknown and the unknowable. But the directing, which is both minimalist and obvious, trivializes the characters, leaving them either transparent or inscrutable and revealing a facile cynicism beneath the story's intellectual posturing. Jonathan Kaufer (Soup for One) directed David Gilman's adaptation of his own play Ghost in the Machine; with David Strathairn, Bonnie Bedelia, Saul Rubinek, and Caroleen Feeney (1998).

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