THE SO FAR Theater Company, a new young troupe devoted to producing contemporary comedy, ends its first season at Source's Main Stage with an effective production of twin one-acts by Peter Shaffer, author of "Amadeus" and "Equus."
"The Public Eye" and "The Private Ear" are bittersweet reworkings of well-worn stories revitalized in the early '60s by Shaffer, who has a gift for characterization. "The Public Eye" follows an eccentric detective hired by a middle-aged accountant to trail his young wife. At the heart of the touching "The Private Ear" is another mundane situation -- a shy young man invites an equally backward woman for dinner, and watches as his more worldly, wolfish friend steals her affections.
Shaffer's common theme in both is "passion versus pronouncement." In other words, we should trust our immediate emotions in relationships; words are deceptive and intrusive. "Think how many more people would stay together if they would just shut up," the detective Cristoferou testily tells the couple, trying to save rather than shatter their marriage. And in "The Private Ear," dreamy, romantic Tchaik chides his more hardened friend Tim, "You can know lots about people without talking to them." Unusual sentiments from one who makes his living putting words in others' mouths.
The threadbare set and rudimentary lighting are countered by subdued, effective acting. Gary Bonasorte is fine in both plays in the markedly different roles of Tchaik and Cristoferou, though his stab at a British accent is distracting, consisting mainly of making final syllables and sentences sound like questions.
Director Jozef Anton has paced the evening well, though a quicker tempo would abet the comedy. And in choreographing Tchaik's awkward courting dance (set to the love duet from "Madama Butterfly"), Anton makes us privileged witnesses to an intimate moment. -- Joe Brown.
THE PUBLIC EYE and THE PRIVATE EAR -- At Source Theater Main Stage through July 6.