CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-COHO, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through June 18, $19-21
Advertised by CoHo as a "taut psychological thriller," Rebecca Gilman's (Spinning Into Butter) stalker play Boy Gets Girl is a blatant example of false advertising. At nearly two-and-a-half hours it's hardly taut, and, lacking any suspense, it's no thriller. The opening scenes hold the most promise, with the excellent David Burnett chiming in as Tony, a blind date for Laura Faye Smith's workaholic magazine writer Theresa. Tony and Theresa drink and talk, and at first all seems well, until Tony starts making plans for them to see the Yankees, then tries to kiss her after having known her for 10 minutes. When on the next date he starts referring to them as a "couple," Theresa quickly gives him the big Blow-Off.
What happens next is standard stalker material: phone calls from Tony start to pour in, then threatening letters, and then the police tell Theresa to get the hell out of her apartment. But oddly, outside of one other menacing appearance in Theresa's office in the first act, we never see Tony in person again. Rather than showing us his actions, Gilman tells them, a proven method for sapping potential tension. With complete neglect for its antagonist, Boy Gets Girl entirely fails to be a careful study of a truly troubled man and the troubled woman he haunts, turning instead into a simplistic moral debate between the male lunkheads in Theresa's life--her boss Howard (David Meyers) and her coworker Mercer (Joe Healy)--whose good-naturedly warped perspectives on women in society show, I suppose, that even cool guys just don't get it.
In one pivotal scene, Mercer confesses to Howard that he once thought about "fucking" Theresa, as if that's the most terrible thing a man could do. Is Gilman implying that men who fantasize about having sex with their coworkers are no better than a crazy freak like Tony? Not quite, but she certainly seems to believe that the line is thin--a dated, senseless bit of feministic machismo that never should have made it out of the '60s, let alone into the heart and soul of a play written in the year 2000.