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Theatre Review: Mauritius

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, October 25, 2010


Collectors can see value in what most people view as ordinary. That happens at the outset in this play, when a young woman named Jackie enters a small stamp shop. Jackie is wondering about the collection she's just inherited - especially a stamp called an Inverted Jenny

Jackie: "Well, is it worth anything?"

Dennis: "It's hard to say. I don't know. Maybe three thousand?"

Jackie: "Dollars? Three thousand…"

Philip: "An Inverted Jenny? There are so many forgeries floating around out there, people are starting to use them to mail in their absentee ballots. Besides which, how would you know the difference. You can't, because you don't know."

Also inside Jackie's collection are two other stamps - extremely rare ones issued in the 1800s by Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean. The stamps could be worth millions, if they're authentic. As rumors of the possible find begin to circulate, an obsessive collector with a short temper and a big red big scar on his face gets involved.

Sterling: "What's she doing carrying them around anyway? Why aren't they in a deposit box somewhere?"

Dennis: "What do you care?"

Philip: "He thinks you cooked up some big plan to con him."

Dennis: "He's high strung."

(THUD as chair hits floor)

Sterling: "This is not a joke.

This play resembles a real house of mirrors - it's fascinating to watch the dubious assortment of characters dissembling and distorting as they compete for control of two tiny squares of paper. The production features a strong combination of professional actors, including several who typically work over at the B Street Theater. All in all, "Mauritius" stacks up as this fall's most entertaining and impressive show. . . it's a bit exotic, frequently funny, but also tense and absorbing. Or to put it in terms a collector would use, it's a rare find, in mint condition.

"Mauritius" plays at Capital Stage in Old Sacramento through November 7th.  

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