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      White Meat
    White motifs

    The mostly unamusing "White Meat" tries really hard to be shocking as it examines the state of the white male.


    "White Meat" starts and ends well, at least. It's essentially a one-man show by Kurt Brungardt (with interludes by brunette bombshell Beth-Anne Arentsen) about the state of the white American male.

    Brungardt's first character, a college kid zipping through the latest frat-boy lingo, can be seen in two ways. First, it bares the mind of the typical American male raised on "Baywatch" and beer commercials, whose mind is occupied with two central thoughts: "How can I get laid?" and "How can I get drunk?"

    Written by: Kurt Brungardt.
    Directed by: Jesse Atlas.
    Cast: Kurt Brungardt, Beth-Anne Arentsen.
    Second — and more promisingly — here is a youngster, still a kid really, trying to figure out how to be a man and picking up on the only clues available. There's only a hint of it in the performance, but the character's parroting of macho buzzwords seems full of false bravado masking a basic inner confusion. Or maybe I'm just thinking too much.

    After this, we have a series of monologues that are neither funny nor insightful, trading on well-worn stereotypes and dirty jokes that haven't shocked anybody since Howard Stern was in grade school.

    Unexpectedly, the show closes with a thoughtful, complex portrait of a young man, maybe just a few years older than the naive frat boy at the beginning. He's talking with his father on the phone when his mother calls, and we can sense the disconnection between the parents and their somewhat adrift son.

    Maybe the show as a whole is simply misconceived as a comedy. Taking the first segment and the last together, Brungardt might have the beginning of a really meaningful drama here, but it's almost completely lost in a shallow attempt to be outrageous, which isn't working anyway. Maybe his next show will be completely different and considerably better.

    APRIL 12, 2001

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