Jay Allen Sanford 12:58 a.m., May 21
It used to be blue versus gray. Now, according to pundits, it's red versus blue. Regional profiling claims that people who live along the coasts are blue-state elitist liberals; those inland are red-state conservatives and fundamentalists. One wag said it all depends on how you feel about NASCAR. Red-staters allegedly love it; blue-staters say it's a waste of fuel.
Joe Calarco's two-hander gives the red/blue stereotypes a much-needed, often funny jostling.
Reagan International Airport is so socked in only one seat's left in the lounge. Reserved Margaret, who lives in "blue" D.C., has been stranded long enough to drain half a carafe of red wine (already the red/blue distinction, at least visually, begins to blur).
Enter gregarious Patty, originally from Tennessee. "I've never been good with silence," she announces, and proves it by talking non-stop.
At first they're opposites - a la Oscar and Felix - and judge each other as such. The divider isn't NASCAR, it's the Kennedy's. Margaret named her four children after them. Patty says they're immoral, privileged scum. She also warns Margaret, "don't think you have me figured out."
They almost come to blows. But as the storm rages outside, each peels away layers the other took for granted.
The play is slow to percolate and a mite talky, but the performances at the Rep., ably directed by Shana Wride, are tops. Melinda Gilb makes Patty a verbal avalanche. She begins with a DJ's fear of dead air. Then, in a deft way, Gilb reels in Patty's words toward the heart (she also does a monologue while preparing a watered down lemon Coke that's priceless).
Ellen Crawford - who's been away from local stages far too long - speaks the play's title (about a decline of standards and mutual respect since the CBS anchorman died). Beneath Margaret's veneer of propriety lurk revelations that are anything but. Crawford dives downward and inward and, in her later monologues, becomes spellbinding.