Below the Belt

In Richard Dresser's play about nothing (to cop a phrase from Seinfeld), hree men find themselves in “the Checking Department” under deadline pressure at a kind of corporate Foreign Legion outpost. The play doesn’t stipulate what the factory makes, disclose the location of the compound where they work, or provide clue one about what’s up with those yellow-eyed animals glowering from just outside the fence. Judd Hirsch reprises his 1996 off-Broadway role as Hanrahan, the irascible everyman who enters every conversation as if it’s an opportunity to practice verbal judo. It falls to new arrival Dobbitt (R. Hamilton Wright) to figure out what the hell is going on. Boss Merkin (John Procaccino) is a nasty bit of work who believes that divide-and-conquer is a terrific substitute for any semblance of teamwork. Directed by Pam MacKinnon, Below the Belt is a high-wire act of verbal virtuosity. Hirsch, Wright, and Procaccino make a fine trio of misfits, and if their situation is an exaggeration of our own workplace melodramas, everyone will find something familiar about trying to reason with the unreasonable. KEVIN PHINNEY

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 22. Continues through June 21, 2009

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