The Matrix Theatre Company presents two plays by David Rouda, Pomp & Circumstance and Sperm Warfare.
POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE
Pomp & Circumstance involves the two most popular American preoccupations: sex and litigation.
A young attorney who would rather pursue women than billable hours is put on probationary notice and is forced to grow up fast after his father, famed trial attorney Max Ebersohn, has a heart attack and a new generation of partners wrests control from the aging patriarch. Young Zach seeks to prove his worth to his dad, who is reluctant to let go of the firm he created and of his identity as a star litigator.
Without his father's consent or the firm's knowledge, Zach takes on two important cases at once. One is a loss of consortium lawsuit brought by a Modern Orthodox Jewish couple: The man has suffered damage as a result of taking five tablets of a medication for erectile dysfunction. The defense attacks their marriage, sealed with a ketubah (Jewish ritual marriage contract) and observant of niddah (sexual separation during menses). How relevant is religious law in a civil suit? How far is Zach willing to go to prove his case to his father?
Simultaneously, Zach takes on a criminal case involving Saul Robinson, an actor playing Othello who has strangled his Desdemona. Was it an accident, or did the actor have a sinister motive? Was he set up by his Iago? Was Saul even in his right mind? Zach attempts a Stanislavsky defense: that Saul was so immersed in The Method, he did not intentionally slay his acting (and romantic) partner.
As he hops from one courtroom to the other in simultaneous trials, Zach has only one ally to rely upon: Diane, a young spitfire associate who has a few tricks up her sleeve (in court and out). Does Zach have the guts to fight his father's definition of him and the firm's billable hour requirements? Will he prove himself a worthy advocate of not just his clients, but also of himself? Will he prevail on behalf of the couple seeking redress from the drug manufacturer? Can he find his own identity while proving that Saul lost his? Can Zach connect with his father and win his love before it's too late?
An attractive couple approaching middle age is trying to make a baby. She's a successful professional; he's been laid off and, to the detriment of his pride, may wind up being a house-husband for a good long while.
Baby-making isn't so simple, so they've gone to a fertility clinic . It turns out that their problems might not all be biological after all. He's stressed by the way his wife treats him, and with only four hours to get his sperm in the cup, he is unable to perform. When his domineering wife and an exquisite young nurse come in to diffuse the situation, things get out of hand.
Behind the plot is an examination of modern sexual roles and the conflict that men and women have with their liberated status, especially given changing contemporary perspectives on biological and traditional roles. Husband and wife must come to terms with evolving expectations in order to make a harmonious family.
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
"DAVID ROUDA HAS WRITTEN AND DIRECTED A PAIR OF SNAPPY ONE-ACTS THAT GRAPPLE WITH STRONG WOMEN AND THE SQUEAMISH MEN IN THEIR LIVES. IN HIS POST-FEMINIST SAGAS, ROUDA NIMBLY DANCES BENEATH A DISCOMFITING ANGER AT WOMEN THAT'S ALWAYS HOVERING OVER THE STAGE BUT NEVER QUITE LANDS THANKS TO ROUDA'S NIMBLE HUMOR AND ULTIMATE RESPECT FOR ALL OF HIS CHARACTERS. ROUDA SPINS THE INNATE COMEDY INTO A MEANING OF LIFE BRAWL. LOVELY PERFORMANCES ALL AROUND. VERY ENTERTAINING."
-- Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly Theatre Editor
"BOTH POMP AND SPERM CONSIST OF QUIRKY AND WITTY HUMOR THAT'S TOO GOOD FOR A SITCOM. BOTH OF THESE PLAYS ARE FAST, FUNNY, AND VERY UNIQUE. ONE WON'T FIND SUCH A PAIR ON ANY STAGE."
-- Accessibly Live
"WELL DONE AND VERY DIFFERENT. WORTH SEEING. FUNNY."
-- LA Splash Magazine
San Francisco Reviews:
WINNER, 2005 SAN FRANCISCO FRINGE FESTIVAL, "BEST OF THE FRINGE" CRITICS AWARD
"ELOQUENTLY EXPRESSED. SLICK DIALOGUE. SO BEGUILING. PERFECT."
-- SF Weekly
"REAL EMOTIONAL HONESTY. NEARLY TOO WELL EXECUTED."
-- SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle
"ROUDA IS A SCISSOR SHARP OBSERVER OF THE HUMAN CONDITION."
-- Marin Independent Journal
"THE DIALOGUE IN DAVID ROUDA'S AWARD-WINNING SCRIPT IS TERSE AND CONVINCING, EVEN IN MOMENTS OF HEIGHTENED PASSION."
-- SF Bay Times
CONTAINS ADULT SUBJECT MATTER. RECOMMENDED FOR AGES: 18+
Box Office Hours: 30 minutes prior to showtimes
Visit the Pomp & Circumstance / Sperm Warfare website: