by John Tarpley
The Weekend Theater puts 2011 into gear with nothing other than a sly teen sex comedy. Playwright Stephen Karam's celebrated "Speech and Debate" follows three Salem, Ore., teen-agers — a shifty dork, a gay high schooler and a dowdy young lady — as they try to out their high school drama teacher whose appetite for young boys is on par with the town's neo-conservative mayor. But what could turn into another broad, act-by-numbers farce goes crazy with imagined banter between a (gay) teen-aged Abraham Lincoln and Mary Warren, the star litigant of the Salem Witch Trials, not to mention a queer pride twist on Cain and Abel. Gen-Y to the max, with OMG GTFO moments told through IM logs and LOLs carved out of IRL situations, theater doesn't get much more ultra-current than this farce.