What’s said in this house, stays in this house!
A fraternity member over the PA system
I’m not sure if writer Paul Shoulberg (The Good Catholic) was in a fraternity, or tried to get in on one and was refused, and wrote this play as payback, but whatever the reason, the man has an enormous talent for humor. For the rest of us, who ever tried to join a Kappa, Delta, Sigma or something similar and was rejected, PLΣDGΣ shows us what we didn’t miss, such as humiliation, degradation and overall embarrassment. We were spared. The same cannot be said about Nate (a very funny Elijah Nelson).
In a non-descript university in the Midwest, Nate a young pledge is under the watchful eye in a brutal fashion, of frat president Cam (Alex Dyon is a crack up).
Cam has Nate dressed in a white diaper, probably dirty, socks and a pirate eye patch and is called Captain Shitty Bridges. Nate takes the abuse, well, like a person who’s desperate to fit in. Cam’s roommate Sherman (played with compassion and sensibility by Brendan Robinson). During all this mayhem, Cam must give a eulogy to a former pledge, Todd. Sadly, Todd hung himself and left behind a huge of pile of feces on the floor. Not the best way to be remembered, but he will be. Being a good brother and a journalism major, Sherman takes over writing the speech. Both guys realize that they didn’t know Todd that well, or at all, really. So, the writing takes some time, but Sherman manages to come up with something endearing. As Sherman adds the finishing touches, a past brother Brent (Artie O’Daly is perfect as the alum not dealing with the real world to well.) comes for a visit. Brent, who is married and with child, feels more at ease with friends then being a responsible husband and father. Not a good look. Mark (wonderfully played by Kevin Clough) is the stereotypical jock, long on muscles but short on brain matter.
Sherman takes a break from the madness by meeting up with Cam’s ex-girlfriend Bailey (Vanessa Marano was excellent). At first, the meeting is awkward became of their individual relationships with Cam but, eventually they ease up and feel free to talk and catch up. It’s clear that they are fond of one another, but, feel they must fight against it. They are both at a crossroads in their life and carefully think about starting something together. Once again, under the direction of Stan Zimmerman (Meet and Greet), PLΣDGΣ is another sure-fire hit. Zimmerman is blessed with telling a good, rich story with hard hitting laughter. Of course, playwright Paul Shoulberg should be praised for his witty banter and breathing life and humor to this exceptional story. Another cheer for Zimmerman for his ability to execute the funny with fresh material. PLΣDGΣ is fun, it is funny, entertaining and best of all, worth seeing again and again.
PLΣDGΣ plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. until Sunday, February 4th at The Dorie Theatre inside The Complex Theatre located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. Visit https://pledge.brownpapertickets.com/ to reserve online.