eric rosen is waiting for guffman / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

So says my daughter. And she might know. Let's hope for Mr. Rosen's sake that the wait is still on for Guffman.

After the frisky staging of Mary Zimmerman's telling of The Arabian Nights, the Rep has turned in two dreary performances that have left me befuddled. Granted Mr. Rosen, as the Rep's Artistic Director, has every right to bang his own drum. Rosen did have the conviction to turn Sherwood Anderson's classic novel, Winesburg, Ohio, into an unlikely musical, but unfortunately for audiences, the sound and fury of the recent Rep staging of this show was muffled, dreary, and uninspired. Anderson's work served as an iconic inspiration for many teenagers, myself included, seeking a path out of the close-mindedness of Midwestern small towns. Rosen's musical, on-the-other-hand, reminded me of why I seldom return to visit. It's just not that interesting of a place.

Rosen and the Rep deserve credit for working hard to bring new and younger audiences to the theater. Eleven pm performances at the Copaken Stage are a smart approach to liven the Power and Light District with real culture. The typical Rep crowd, which appears to be composed mainly of folks who got close to, but never achieved incredible wealth, scares me with its excess of tweed jackets and designer pantsuits. But as a whole, this doddering crowd has never frightened me as much as the mediocre production of The Borderland at the Copaken Stage.

More than once during the second act I keep thinking that a mass execution will occur and redeem The Borderland from the plodding, unsympathetic characters that moped around the stage during the first act. No such luck. If only the script could have kept up with the sound and lighting in this show it might have been worth a late night. Instead, the plot was completely improbable, the characters unlikeable, and the catharsis irredeemable. Lacking theater, there wasn't much reason for the effort.