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Arts & Music

Stageworks’ ‘Ten Percent’ takes potshots at bureaucracy out of control

Tribune correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: March 27, 2014 at 05:36 PM

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What starts out as a simple trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get an address changed on a driver’s license turns into an outrageous battle with red tape in “Ten Percent of Marta Solano.”

The comedy presented by Stageworks opened Thursday and runs through April 13.

“It’s like bureaucracy on steroids,” says director Richard Coppinger. “When Marta gets a new driver’s license a couple of numbers on the address are transposed. When she goes to the DMV to get it corrected, the man behind the desk warns her, “Just be happy with what you’ve got. You don’t want to get involved with us.”

He tells her that it would be easier if she moved to the address on the license.

Marta insists that she is more than a number but that leads to an ever-tangled web of problems.

Dawn Truax plays the headstrong Marta who wants validation. Ron-Bobb Semple plays the various clerks that Marta encounters. These are dull, middle-aged men working in a system that does not care about the individual.

“What happens to Marta is over-the-top,” says Coppinger. She eventually is declared dead. Her obit runs in the paper, her bank forecloses on her mortgage, she can’t get her money — and worse.

“It reminds me of a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” says Truax. “It starts out as something mundane and then goes completely off the rails. It’s what I call ‘a laugh out loud dark comedy.’ Some comedies are amusing but you don’t laugh. This one is funny.

“There also are some dark things that happen, and the finale is one that people will be thinking about and discussing for a long time afterward, “ she says, adding that there are some moments when those who have encountered frustration with bureaucracy may get a vicarious thrill, especially when Marta decides that she is mad as hell and is not going to take it anymore.

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