Photo by VJ Arizpe H.R. Bradford and Christie Stryk in Rome, an adults-oinly production from Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company
John Harvey is resident playwright for Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company, and has now written Rome his tenth play for them, a world premiere. It takes place in one continuous scene, in the drawing room to a mansion, as three men and three women discuss death and mutilation, suicide and sex, engage in flirtations, and plot seduction and midnight rape. It is, nonetheless, in many ways a dark comedy. It is great fun, but also deadly serious fun.
A large part of the entertainment is figuring out what exactly is going on, a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle with some serious pieces missing. A published listing for the show mentions that the poet John Keats is dying in the next room, which would make the time 1820, and the setting London, though the program provides none of this information. Keats, ill from consumption, did go on to Rome, where he died.