What every woman wants
Robert Dubac tries to answer that question in his one-man show, The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?
By ROBERT HICKS
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 15, 2002
Robert Dubac's one-man show The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? shouldn't scare away men or overly empower women in its quest to answer the universal question: What do women want?
"I've always thought that if you have something to say in a serious vein, people are more apt to absorb it if they're laughing than if you're on a soap box preaching. I'm not male bashing," Dubac said in a recent phone interview.
"So even though the show is high comedy, I try to use a lot of intelligent humor so people can walk out of the show with a certain weight and depth that they can talk about. Or they can just not give it a second thought."
Dubac's six-character story, which opens Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, is simple. Bobby, leading man and Dubac's alter-ego, is confused about women. His fiance has walked out on him. He can't understand why, and she's given him two weeks to find an answer to what women want in a relationship.
Bobby seeks the answer through his mentors -- you guessed it -- five chauvinistic men. The Colonel, a limping, stiff-backed Southern misogynist, believes honesty is the key to good relationships. Jean-Michel, a French exchange student, counts on excessive communication to win over women. Fast Eddie, a walking, talking sex machine, uses women as doormats. Old Mr. Linger is a 123-year-old waiting for the perfect woman. Ronnie Cabrezzi, a leather-jacketed Brooklynite, is too sensitive for his own good.
Bobby also receives help from his feminine side when a disembodied female voice (Dubac's wife, actor Lauren Sinclair) speaks to him.
The stage represents the inside of Bobby's brain. On the male half sits a cluttered, messy living room. The other, feminine half is empty except for a blank chalkboard.
Dubac modeled his six male characters after women he observed in relationships. He noted one male trait often blinded women and led to their breakup. Each man in the show represents one favorable trait taken to a fault. The Colonel is too honest. Jean-Michel talks too much. Fast Eddie forgets passion is only part of the equation. Linger's sense of humor never leads him to his ideal woman. Ronnie carries sensitivity too far.
Dubac's own frustration (not with women -- he's happily married) over his stand-up comedy and acting career gave rise to the show. Early on, he did a comic magic show, opening for Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Loggins and Jimmy Buffett. He then toured the south as a stand-up comedian more interested in character sketches and storytelling than one-liners.
On television, he played Alex Master on the ABC soap Loving. He also appeared on Diff'rent Strokes, Life Goes On and Growing Pains, and hosted Fox's The Late Show. His film work include The Rookie, Nobody's War, After the Game and Innocent Obsession.
"As an actor who is not on the A list and is for hire, it's nice to have something that you can sink your teeth into. I made it a point to write something I would enjoy doing," he said. "The topic came about pretty much from a personal standpoint. I think there are a lot of men who get accused of wrongdoing basically from guilt by association. You have one guy who is a bonehead and treats women badly and women look at all the rest of the men in the room and see us as just as bad as the bonehead because we don't speak up.
"It's assurance to say that we're all not like that, we're trying to do something different, we're trying to break out of the cave and shed our Neanderthal roots. Nobody has taught us how."
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PREVIEW: The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? plays the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Tuesday through Aug. 25. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Thur.; 8 p.m. Fri.; 2 and 8 p.m. Sat.; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sun. $15.50-$34.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045; or www.tbpac.org.
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