Does this make you hot?

References to Salvador Dali
Make Me Hot
Now through May 19
Thurs. 7:30 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.
PSU students
get $2 discount
w/valid ID
Miracle Theatre
425 SE 6th Ave.

Do references to Salvador Dali make you hot? Moist fruit, female breasts, melting clocks, floating Christs and lots of ants are just a few of the many images in Salvador Dali’s amazing surreallist paintings that have the potential to get a hard-working red blooded person hot.

I really want to find out if references to Salvador Dali make me hot. I keep asking my lover to reference him, but she either does it wrong (inexcusably referencing Monet or Van Gogh) or the spontaneity required to get hot is lacking. Damn, damn, damn.

Thank Heaven the Miracle Theatre’s final production of this season is a play by Jose Rivera called “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot,” The bummer of this situation is that I couldn’t hear the first act reference to Salvador Dali that made leading lady Gabriel, (Gabby) played by Jamie M. Rea, “hot.”

There was a lot going on at the end of the first act when she got hot. The reference came from the mustachioed poetic moon, who watches our drama and narrates dreams.

The reference happened while Gabby was dancing with Mr. Moon. The Moon was so turned on by Gabby he came down from the sky to make love to her and fight with the neighbor boy who, madly in love himself, spies on Gabby. He sits under Mr. Moon’s watchful eye, telescope in hand, waiting eagerly for her to get naked so he can see her “thingy.”

Adding to act one’s commotion is Gabby’s Cat, who opens the play dancing a courtship dance with the rough and tough Coyote, with whom she will later make rough and tough love. After dancing with Gabby Mr. Moon kicks Martin the neighbor boy’s ass in a hilarious and well-choreographed slapstick fight scene.

He then goes back into the sky and disturbs everyone, especially the coyote, with its bright piercing light. Somewhere in the milieu he reference’s Salvador Dali, and Gabby gets wet and dreamy hot.

Mr. Moon is awfully poetic, but sure does have a mean streak. Like any cold, rock hard moon, he gets sick of just watching. He’s a moon of action and feels he’s had a bad rap ever since Shakespeare called him inconstant and got his gender wrong. This play – as fun to think about, write about, and remember as it is to see – mixes the surreal and the real. The first and fourth acts deal with Gabby’s dream world. A world where the moon loves, the cat talks, paranoia vies for control of the psyche and a neighbor teen has a voyeuristic crush.

The 15-year-old neighbor boy Martin really does have an irrational, hormonally-charged crush. He’s in love with the lonely, creative Gabby, who’s husband, a career soldier named Benito, is always away. The surreal mixes with the real, reality enters dreams, and dreams enter Gabby’s reality.

The reality-based second and third acts are about Gabby and Benito’s real relationship. Benito is a good man who like so many other good men, has been turned into a violent difficult asshole by the U.S. military. He loves Gabby, and Gabby loves him, but their relationship is falling apart. It is honest and truthfully portrayed.

During these two player reality-based acts, universal issues of communication, trust and the true meaning of love are discussed at times with thoughtful, captivating dialogue, and at others with uninteresting yelling matches and unconvincing sentimentality. Gabby’s symbolic nudity and loyalty to the difficult Benito is touching and effective.

Some of the fights seemed poorly written and use too much yelling. The short, bad sex scene, resulting in Gabby’s tears, is good. The audience’s thoughts could almost be heard echoing Gabby’s: “Damn, that was some bad sex, it’s time to kick that fool to the curb.”

Gabby wants to leave. She loves Benito and holds on to the sweet memories of their early years. She is sure that if she could reach deep down inside of him, she could exorcise the demons that make him cry in his sleep.

He won’t open up. He works for an organization that makes him kill innocent women and children. He resents Gabby for educating herself, learning more about the Iraqis he kills and speaking in elaborate metaphors. She just wants every thing to be OK.

When Benito leaves, she enters the surreal dream world, sleeping in the backyard so Mr. Moon can speak to her. The fourth act brings us back to the yard where Gabby sleeps, lonely without Benito but finding comfort in the company of the neighbor boy who worships her as Benito once did. The Coyote’s ghost comes back to visit the Cat. The animal relationship begins to shadow the human one. The Cat asks Gabby what to do if your lover is a ghost. Gabby says love him nonetheless and the cycle continues.

The second and third acts deal with some common and interesting aspects of love and relationships, but do drag a little. The actors have a decent chemistry but some lines fall flat when they should hit hard.

Antonio Sonera’s direction is best not during the two-person middle acts but during the first and fourth “surreal” ones, as five characters work in tandem. There are a few funny moments, one in which young Martin gives a testosterone-charged monologue about being young, frustrated and testosterone charged. Of course a Barbie doll contributes to the humor.

All in all the play deserves a B+ and is worth seeing because the Miracle Mainstage works hard, the cast and crew are good, and its good to support local culture and theater.