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Who knew lesbians don\'t have daily tickle fights?

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If there is a theater award for most timely show, it would have to go to Theater Artists Olympia\'s production of David Mamet’s “Boston Marriage." The award would go to the theater now despite the fact that the play is set 100 years ago, because its message is timeless as it tells of the human condition of love as well as timely because it comes at a time in state history when homosexual couples are being given legal status.

TAO staged this show, which as been dubbed by some as the "Lesbian Odd Couple," because it was a good play first and timely second.

"It\'s kind of serendipity how it happened," Director Michael Christopher said.

He was looking for a play with strong female characters, and actress Heather Lennox (who plays Claire) suggested the show. Everything clicked from there.

TAO stages funky, edgy works, and this was a funky and edgy work of sorts. And it has strong female characters. They aren\'t particularly likable, but they are strong.

Here is where a history lesson might come into play.

Americans viewed homosexuality much differently a century ago than they do now. Couples, particularly lesbian couples, were not viewed with ogling eyes the way homosexual couples are often stared at today. They were allowed to live out their lives the way they saw fit. There was even a term for such couples. They were referred to as "Boston Marriages," a term that gives rise to the name of the Mamet work.

Mamet is not known for writing strong female roles. The writer is known more for his terse, vulgar dialogue and his exploration of masculinity. Women play side roles if any at all. He brought the world "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Speed-the-Plow" as well as "The Verdict" and "Wag the Dog." He is sort of the Walt Disney of American theater in that the female roles in his works are dead, dying or marginalized by the overpowering male characters.

This play is different.

On its surface, the play seems risqué: two lesbians frolicking around the well to do of the Northeastern elite. That description would sell the script short. The play is a study of a relationship where the members just happen to be game. There are no battles against the rules and conventions of society because their love is largely accepted by their contemporaries. That\'s what makes this a work to watch.

"They are just regular people and not very nice ones at that," Christopher says. "But at times you can see that they really, really love each other."

This is a play that doesn\'t gloss over the barbs and struggles found in any relationship. In fact, it is from those sharp exchanges where the play gets its strength.

Heather Christopher\'s role of Anna versus Lennox\'s character of Claire ties the story together with Ingrid Pharris playing the role of Catherine the maid to weave the scenes together.

The exchanges are witty and often barbed as the play unfolds to tell the story of how Claire finds her mother\'s heirloom necklace around the Anna\'s neck, a gift from one of her male lovers.

"Boston Marriage" runs through the weekend with shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Minnaert Center for the Arts, South Puget Sound Community College. Tickets are $12 and available at or at 360.596.5501.

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