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You don’t need the J. Geils Band to tell you that. But why does it seem that the Internet makes it so much more fun to hurt the ones you love and love the ones that hurt you? Maybe it’s the anonymous proximity, maybe it’s the dazzling newness of social tech, or maybe it’s the mind-blowing ubiquity of porn that killed romance for Dan, Alice, Anna, and Larry in Patrick Marber’s 1997 play Closer.
Jon Saltzman is a young filmmaker embarking on a promising career. His high school best friend Vince is a burn-out, low level drug dealer. They meet in a hotel room in Lansing, Michigan to catch up and, in Vince’s case, get even. To do so, Vince gets Jon to admit on tape that he date raped Amy, Vince’s high school girlfriend and first love. When Amy, now the assistant district attorney in Lansing, shows up, each one of them has to face the past and choose between forgiveness and justice.
The past is a strange and distant country, and we are refugees with no right of return. J. Stephen Brantley’s new play 83 Down playing at Under St. Marks is a postcard from that country. On one side is a montage of evocative images – Duran Duran posters, car telephones, TV top cable boxes, Ronald Reagan’s avuncular smile – and on the other side is a cryptic prophecy that reads: pleasure is punishment; freedom is bondage.