Since the beginning of June, ACT Theatre has staged one of the nastiest, funniest, most engrossing dramas outside of the state legislature (budget joke, oooh). In Jon Robin Baitz’s modern family drama Other Desert Cities, Palm Springs stands in for Osage County. It’s Christmas Eve in a houseful of combatants—staunch Republican matriarch Polly Wyeth, who's on a first-name basis with “Ron and Nancy,” her freshly rehabbed sister Silda, and daughter Brooke, who just plopped her tell-all memoir on the kitchen table. They swap zingers like volleys on the tennis court. TV actress Pamela Reed and Seattle’s Marya Sea Kaminski face off in the mother-daughter matchup, which is great comedy in act one, and turns dark and slightly tragic in act II.
I don't want to give anything away, so let's instead focus on some of the best lines delivered by a stonefaced Reed as Polly Wyeth. Playwright Baitz (creator of the hit TV show Brothers and Sisters) has an ear for shrill, and Reed makes every word count.
"This water needs vodka for flavor."
"Sarcasm is the purview of teenagers and homosexuals."
"[Your husband] was too old and too British—which is the same thing, really."
"You'll never meet anyone if you keep dressing like...a refugee from Kabul."
"Once [Hollywood] became about drugs and lefties whining, I was out."
"It's all or nothing with your generation. You're either vegans or meth addicts."
"I read it in the Internet."
"If you have a lousy serve, you have a lousy serve."
"I don't have a bigoted bone in my body."
Other Desert Cities
Thru June 30, ACT Theatre, $20–$62