There are many reasons to see a play, and if one of those reasons is that you adore the creative repercussions of the well-written play structure, Mauritius, by Theresa Rebeck, with a lovely remounted production from Tongue in Cheek Theater directed by Jake Lipman, is the play for you. The script really fills the form up to near spillage, and seems to overlook any other creative choices available. Fine, at least we can rest well assured that the playwright's vision has been realized.
In Mauritius, the fight over a valuable stamp rips a family apart and brings some unexpected people together. Mauritius is the island the stamp hails from, as well as a paradise outpost the characters can dream about. This sort of one-to-one, object-to-metaphor connection can also be found with the stamps themselves, as the errors reveal their value. No need to explain that. All props to the script for fulfilling its objective, these metaphors are very clear, but they do lack a charge.
The text also seems to fulfill the playwright’s ambitions, but often feels overwritten and self-involved. With that said, the monologues were engaging and fun, and did a very fine job explicitly reflecting the characters that speak them. This is possible because the characters could be understood as statements, pretty much from their first moments on stage. In a way, this is a huge success, as the playwright has created a specific and clear character, but these characters were too much a character in a play, and not enough a human being that I could emphasize with, believe with, long for. The actors were able to perform objective-based work, which is always nice to see, but these are motivated caricatures. In some scripts this would be fine; in a play dealing with people dealing with each other, it blocked me from feeling.
But it seems the play has accomplished everything it set out to do, and it is vital to gauge a work on what it intended. And the production from Tongue in Cheek Theater put on the work true to form, with clear storytelling. This play is perfect for a student intending to learn about the well-written structure concerned with a central metaphor and dealing with characters with clear motivation. And I hope those people see this play.