Theater & Performing Arts

Speech & Debate

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. and Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Continues through July 29 2010

Theme outpaces character in Robin StantonÕs interpretation of Speech & Debate, a play about sexuality and privacy in the digital age. Surely thatÕs what playwright Stephen Karam intended. He played with the theme almost to the point of ostentation, characterizing each scene with some relevant rhetorical term and allowing characters to cross-examine each other throughout. As a result, form mirrors content in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of way. Stanton ups the ante by running a series of video montages between scenes, each revolving around a single obvious metaphor. (For ejaculation, fireworks and bottles of champagne being uncorked; for Òcoming out,Ó portal imagery.) Such visual gags help enhance a script thatÕs already wildly entertaining. Three outcasts join hands to root out a school sex scandal, and wind up exposing each other in the process. Maro Guevara, Jason Frank, and Jayne Deely are terrific as the troubled teens. Holli Hornlien shines as the fashionable, self-absorbed journalist who subjects them to an extra round of public shaming. Through July 18 at Aurora Theatre (2081 Addison St., Berkeley). $34-$45. AuroraTheatre.org

Rachel Swan

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