Theater Night. ACT.
From my seat all I could see was the back of R. Hamilton Wright, and I recognized him immediately - the shape of his head, the tilt of his shoulders. He is older, now, of course, but then so am I. The Revenger's Comedies was back in 1992, the very first play I ever saw at ACT, as a sixth-grader. Now it is 2009 and I am at the theater on my own, glad that I made the choice to go for season tickets, glad that I have a reason to head out one Tuesday night a month and go to the theater. I make my way through the parking garage and down the silent escalators of the Convention Center to the passageway that leads to one of my favorite theaters. ACT stands for A Contemporary Theater, and most of its works are modern plays, or modern interpretations of classic plays, such as a Tennessee Williams reworking of Chekov, or a twenty-first-century adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, last month's play.
Below the Belt is about three men marooned in the company compound of an unnamed corporation who produces parts for something - we aren't told what - in some far-off corner of the world, which is unidentified. Certainly it is some part of the world which requires Americans to live and work in a walled "compound" patrolled by armed guards to protect them from whatever is beyond those walls. Two of the men - R. Hamilton Wright and Judd Hirsch - are inspectors, and a third man, John Procaccino, who is their boss. It is brutally funny - for all that we say that women are cruel to each other, men are no different, only they do it differently - and nobody loses his shit onstage better than R. Hamilton Wright. I hurt from laughing. The theater is full, and we all hurt from laughing.