I went to the Shakespeare Theater on Saturday to see a 17th Century French play called The Metromaniacs and, yeah, yeah, there’s an actual line in the play where someone asks if that means, “Crazy about subways?” and we DC sophisticates chortle knowingly- ho ho ho ho ho ho- because, ahbviously a 17th Century play would not refer to the DC Metro but to something well, a little more contemporary. And in French. So you see, Buffy, it is a Play on Words (in a play. Ho ho ho ho ho ho) about meter and it means actually someone who is crazy about poetry. Ho ho ho.
Self-indulgent little panders like that aside, it was freakin’ hilarious. Freakin’. From the French for “freakin’.”
This is the second David Ives adaptation of a French play I’ve seen, the first being the equally hilarious The Liar, and I gotta say, Ives has a gift. Not only are his couplets brilliant (couplets? Oh yes, the play is written in rhyming couplets. Just like the original. But in English. Ho ho ho ho ho), but his timing is extraordinary. And, as y’all know, timing is everything, which the superb cast had down to a science.
So what’s this thing about? Oh, the usual, mistaken identity resulting in comic situations. In this case, the old guy running the place has been anonymously publishing his poems as a bucolic shepherdess and he’s having a reading at his house to try and find a suitor for his poetry-mad daughter (the metromaniac in question) and lots of folks are flocking there, including a poet who thinks the bucolic shepherdess will be in attendance and wants to find and marry her (boy, is he in for a surprise) but the poet, himself, writes under a nom de plume (see what I did there?) and the daughter of the shepherdess…er, old guy…is in love with THAT poet and wants to marry him sight unseen and notebooks are stolen and servants put on disguises.
Trust me, it’s funny. Especially the duck faces.
Go see it.