Vicuña at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City Offers a Presidential Candidate Unsuited for the Job

If you are in the mood for an evening of theatre that directly confronts today’s political situation, you really couldn’t do better than Vicuña, now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. The play takes on the rise of Donald Trump with a currency and satiric bite that rivals last night’s Daily Show.

Writer Jon Robin Baitz (a Pulitzer finalist), director Robert Egan, and actor Harry Groener present the audience with a crass real estate mogul running for president, Kurt Seaman (har har har!). Seaman is, by turns, a malaprop-spewing bully, a cunning negotiator, and a man who always knows who holds the most power in the room (psst: it’s him). He needs a killer suit for his final debate, and the play takes place almost exclusively in the well-appointed back room of an upscale NY tailor during three fittings over three weeks.

Vicuña (named after the suit’s exquisite, imported wool) offers a handful of foils for Seaman’s know-nothing barbarism – including a fiery Iranian-American tailor’s apprentice (an excellent Rariz Monsef channeling Cary Grant) as well as Seaman’s brilliant daughter-turned-campaign-manager, Srilanka (har har har!). But for the most part, they are of interest only inasmuch as they elucidate the monster at the heart of the play.

Vicuña is a funny and frightening night at the theatre. But it would have been even better if it had challenged the audience to respect or even like Seaman. For although the play offers some broadsides against both the Clinton surrogate and the GOP, we are never encouraged to have anything but horror and contempt for Seaman. Preaching to the choir, then, for this Westside audience—but what a sermon!

“Vicuña” runs through November 20, 2016. For tickets and information, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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