Talk to Me

Three shows use the power of language to explore love, death and difference

Rodriguez, a dimpled cutie, shows terrific versatility, portraying "Paquito," an over-the-hill ex-Menudo member now bar-backing at the Latin Grammys; "Carlos," a janitor from the Dominican Republic who worked in the World Trade Center; "Ernestina," an anguished mother from El Salvador ("the death squads...so professional!"); and "Maria," a bewigged talk show host who blasts Puerto Ricans for their dietary habits ("I watched them fry a salad!").

After it's over, it's hard to believe there were only two actors onstage. They fill the room with voices and characters, playing with and off the audience in an ongoing and always enjoyable game of verbal jai alai.


There's no reason Defending the Caveman, back at the Majestic for another two-week run, couldn't keep its writer, director and star, Rob Becker, employed for the rest of his life. Performed by the affable Becker since the early '90s, Caveman is a funny, provocative look at gender roles and the Mars-Venus differences in how men and women communicate.
The characters in Book of Days, above, make Our Town a new town with dark, ugly secrets. Rob Becker's Caveman is really a pussycat when it comes to women.
Scott Guenther
The characters in Book of Days, above, make Our Town a new town with dark, ugly secrets. Rob Becker's Caveman is really a pussycat when it comes to women.

Details

Book of Days continues at Addison's WaterTower Theatre through June 23. Call 972-450-6232.

Latinologues continues at the Wilson Carriage House through June 15, then moves to Undermain June 19-25. Call 214-243-2348.

Defending the Caveman continues at the Majestic Theatre through June 16. Call 214-373-8000.

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With his relaxed-fit jeans, faded blue T-shirt and hairy forearms, Becker is the enlightened, unthreatening alpha male, questioning language, culture and history as perceived by men and women. Between men, he explains, "'Dickhead' means you're my friend. 'Buttwipe' means I missed you."

Women are multitaskers. Men focus in a linear mode. "That's why the guy has to turn down the radio when he gets lost," Becker says.

Women crave closeness. Men want space. Baseball is the perfect activity, muses Becker. "Buncha guys, hangin' out, far from each other."

And so it goes as Becker unreels his ideas over two fleeting hours. It's stand-up comedy, philosophy and anthropology, and it's very, very funny. Rolling thunder funny. Punch-your-significant-other-in-the-ribs funny. See, honey? That's what I've been trying to tell you.

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