Friday, December 19, 2008

Piven Gets Plowed

Following a bout of mercury poisoning, Entourage star Jeremy Piven has exited the Broadway revival of Speed-the-Plow. Playwright David Mamet told Variety: "I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury. So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer." Hilarious! (Shut up, Mamet.) Broadway vet Norbert Leo Butz and Felicity Huffman-schtupper/Head Automatica song-subject William H. Macy will take over the role through the show's conclusion in February.

There's an important lesson to take away from this whole debacle. No, not to avoid eating fish in the tri-state area, any moron can tell you that. No, the lesson is this: write your reviews in a timely manner. Because I saw Speed-the-Plow over Thanksgiving weekend, and I was going to buck my Mamet-hating trend for a moment and recommend you see it based on the strength of Piven's performance and the performance of Raul Esparza. But I got busy, distracted, and now Piv's out of the show and I can no longer wholeheartedly recommend it. Piven and Esparza had fantastic chemistry that tore the stage up, making Speed-the-Plow the first Mamet play to not ping my rage-o-meter. (My only-partially-rational hatred for David Mamet is legendary in my circle of friends. I once had a professor ban the topic of Mamet altogether in one of my classes since every mere mention of the man set me off on a five-minute, largely incoherent rant.) Elizabeth Moss was a weak link, basically reprising her Mad Men character, which is fine if you like her Mad Men character - I don't. Of course, to be fair, Piven was basically playing his Entourage characer, but I never tire of Ari Gold's shenanigans, so maybe I'm biased. And Esparza always owns every role he steps into and while this was no exception, I'm not sure he's a good enough reason to see the play, which is mostly entertaining with some good zingers but ultimately clunky and not exactly complex. Ah well. Guess everyone can go back to seeing August: Osage County.

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