‘MAMMOTHS’ TO A GOOD HOME, AT TRTC

madeleinemrcedesMercedes Herrero (right) stars as a slightly dizzied Dean in SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND, the “academic sex comedy” by Madeleine George (left).

By TOM CHESEK

Saturday, October 15, marks a momentous occasion for Red Bank’s Two River Theater Company: the first preview performance of an all-new, never-before-seen play, developed by artistic director John Dias and the team of creative people at TRTC’s branded Bridge Avenue artspace.

An original comedy by Madeleine George — a college professor and writing teacher whose résumé includes some of the  best-known universities and correctional facilities in the state of New York — the show called Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England is pitched as an “academic sex comedy,” one recommended for mature audiences on the basis of “simulated sex between prehistoric college students and contemporary lesbians.”

In the production (going up inside the Two River building’s “black box” Marion Huber Theater space) under the direction of Obie winner Ken Rus Schmoll, a small-college administrator named Dean Wreen (Mercedes Herrero) must contend with the budget-axe amputation of the struggling school’s Natural History museum — at the same time that her ex-girlfriend Greer (Deirdre Madigan) re-appears to further complicate things with the Dean’s much younger current partner, Andromeda (Flor De Liz Perez).

Throw in a campus caretaker (Joel Van Liew) who apparently lives in the basement — and a come-to-life couple of Early Man exhibits (Lauren Culpepper, Jon Hoche) who “take us through the history of human relationships, without moving a muscle” — and you’ve got what Dias has championed as a play that “weaves together screwball comedy and academic satire with a truly profound view of contemporary relationships, and the different ways that people make a family.”

Dias, who’s made good on his promise (in a previous interview here on redbankgreen) to bring “a couple” of world premiere shows to local audiences — the other is In This House, opening in March 2012 — sat down with the Drama Desk to talk about what we can expect to see when the Mammoths lumber into town (spoiler alert: it’s NOT a stage full of trained elephants)…

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