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The Panties, The Partner and The Profit, Shakespeare Theatre Company

David Ives has written a play with a name that no one, myself included, really wants to say. It's a nod to the source material, of course, a series of plays from the start of the twentieth century by German playwright Carl Sternheim, rendered into alliterative pithiness by Ives as (sigh) The Panties, The Partner and The Profit.  Sternheim's tales of the Maske family are updated by Ives into our more recent past (1950 and 1987) and then into the extremely near future (tomorrow morning).

Ives uses three of Sternheim's plays as his starting point, finding powerful parallels in the Germany of the 1910 and early 1920s with America today, and discovering his own points of commentary on our society. It's a shame, then, that so often these points of commentary are tied so pointedly into Ives' own perspective; this is most apparent in the final act, when the cast reappears to satirize modern character types from a generation or two separate from Ives' own.  Satire, as w…

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