Marie Mack, Odari Kimani and Sylvia Forrester in Mercury Players Theatre's Widescreen
If you lie awake at night fantasizing about the raunchy situations some people must get into on business trips, if they have the chance and the libido, the Mercury Players Theatre production Widescreen (through Nov. 22 at the Bartell Theatre) is for you. The play features tablets, smartphones, laptops and four different sex scenes before intermission.
Abby (Marie Mack), Greg (Odari Kimani) and Tiffany (Sylvia Forrester) are software trainers stationed in Wisconsin Rapids for a week to promote a new product. The entire play takes place in their hotel room. (With three twentysomethings and two beds, something interesting's bound to happen.) A slightly baffling subplot involves the program the characters have been deployed to push. There's blackmail, bribery and covert corporate evaluations. But these debacles don't distract from the main question the play provokes: Who will sleep with whom next?
Ned O'Reilly, the playwright and director of Widescreen, sets out to make us laugh at contemporary notions of relationships and privacy. He achieves this, though after the main devices of the play become apparent, the plot unfolds with methodical, almost mechanical, resolve. What the play lacks in dynamism it makes up in characters. The people on stage were convincing down to their last rolling suitcase and discarded brassiere.
The chemistry among the characters was fun to watch, too, especially the flowering affinity between Abby and Tiffany, and the sporadic and goofy appearances of Ben Bartz as Troy. The set and costumes make the entire show pleasurably voyeuristic. Treat Widescreen like you would a showing of American Pie: Bring your high school buddy, your sweetheart or your coworker. Just don't bring your mom.