High Infidelity

What do Oscar-winning screenwriters do between films? They make little plays, apparently. One such diminutive dramedy is John Patrick Shanley’s The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, an oddball skewering of infidelity, spousal abuse, and the vagaries of love. Shanley, who won an Academy Award for his Moonstruck script in 1987, pits a woman’s father against her lover after the woman discovers her beau has been canoodling with her younger sister. It’s complicated.

The snarky commentary on heterosexual romance is tailor-made for Artists’ Theatre Project, a smallish troupe that’s scored highs (Scream Queens) and lows (The Book of Liz) with similarly quirky productions in recent seasons. Few other local theater companies would dare to mount a story in which a father threatens to pummel his daughter’s former lover if he doesn’t marry the girl, or a wife-beater hands out marriage advice to a younger man who’s sleeping with both of the older guy’s daughters. Like we said, it’s complicated.

Dreamer, which New York magazine lauded with a long list of encouraging adjectives (“. . . pungent, thought-provoking, original, poetic . . .”), performs at Soul Invictus Gallery & Cabaret.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: March 14. Continues through March 30, 2008
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela