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Photograph: Russ Rowland
The Qualification of Douglas Evans
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Photograph: Russ Rowland
The Qualification of Douglas Evans
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Photograph: Russ Rowland
The Qualification of Douglas Evans
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Photograph: Russ Rowland
The Qualification of Douglas Evans

The Qualification of Douglas Evans. Walkerspace (see Off Broadway). By Derek Ahonen. Directed by James Kautz. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 25mins. One intermission.

The Qualification of Douglas Evans: In brief

The unstable elements known as the Amoralists present a pair of new shows in repertory: The Qualification of Douglas Evans, Derek Ahonen's surrealistic look at a playwright and his addictions; and Mark Roberts's Enter at Forest Lawn, a dark comedy about a debauched network-sitcom star.

The Qualification of Douglas Evans: Theater review by Sandy MacDonald

It might sound like an orgy of onanistic ego, but Ahonen’s latest—in which he portrays a playwright of autobiographical dramas—is oddly winning, much like his schlumpy, schlemiel-cute protagonist. Amid David Harwell’s stark loggia of a set, centered on a revolving bed, Doug suffers flashbacks of familial strife as he embarks on his sentimental education.

In true Amoralist fashion, the play gets right down to business with a graphic depiction of 18-year-old Doug’s defloration at the hands of an “older woman” of 24 (Kelley Swindall). After a demoralizing dalliance with an heiress and dilettante (Samantha Strelitz), he tries to devote himself to a die-hard optimist, played like a human pogo stick (every other bounce brings a “Yay!”) by Agatha Nowicki. Barbara Weetman glows in a panoply of roles, ranging from Doug’s martyr of a mom to a middle-aged agent whom he tries unsuccessfully to bed. His most faithful lover, though, lives in a bottle, and Ahonen—writer and performer—deftly handles a gradual U-ey from comic to tragic.—Theater review by Sandy MacDonald

THE BOTTOM LINE The Amoralists transform old wine (boozing author) into a heady brew.

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