THE HUMOR OF BILE AND BITE

SUICIDAL URGES AND SEXUAL PUT-DOWNS MARK A TRIO OF SHORT WORKS BY DAVID MAMET, ELAINE MAY AND WOODY ALLEN

"If you weren't depressed you'd be an idiot," one character tells another in Woody Allen's one-acter, Central Park West. The words might equally sum up either of the other two short plays, An Interview and Hotline, that opened off-Broadway last week under the collective title Death Defying Acts. All three offer humor of bile and bite.

David Mamet's cryptic, Kafkaesque An Interview takes place between the Attorney (Paul Guilfoyle) and the Attendant (Gerry Becker). Theirs is an encounter between a terrier and a sphinx: lots of barking on one side, stony silence on the other. The Attorney has apparently been summoned...

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