This Week in Theater
Review by Rose Desena
I think it was the English writer Milton in Paradise Lost who wrote “the path to hell is paved with good intentions.” I suspect the playwright, Andrew Hinderaker, had this in mind when he crafted this intriguing morality tale or he had just completed a marathon session of the board game, “Scruples.” I just hated the question if while driving I would swerve to avoid a squirrel if it meant hitting a baby carriage.
In a world of brutal capitalism (Is that redundant?) are there any rules? Is “exploiting” exclusive to the swanky, highly-educated, and sophisticated business person or is anyone capable of profiting off the backs of the weak and less fortunate proving that economic exploitation is open to all Americans regardless of race, creed, gender, religion or social class?
Playwright Andrew Hinderaker’s powerful play “DIRTY” introduces us to a group of manipulative characters who find themselves Armani suit deep in moral dilemmas as they try to clean up a DIRTY business and do the right thing. Katie ( Anna Konkle) and Matt (Max Lester) need a new gig. They’re about to have a baby and Matt just quit his job in finance. Katie is a politically correct liberal who works for a nonprofit agency that’s struggling from lack of funding. Her husband, Max, has a very creative business idea that will allow them to work together doing some good and while making a ton of dough.
After some convincing, they are all in. However, every good idea needs some cash so they form a partnership with a Gordon Gekko-like character, Matt’s ex- boss, who is a savvy but a cut throat investor. Just like in the movie Wall Street when Gekko gave his rousing speech, Greed is Good, I found myself being suckered in. Suddenly, I was agreeing with both Katie and Matt about this dodgy business they were now fully embarking on. Convincing myself that it’s all ok because it will be done with some social awareness, and yes, I shop at Whole Foods so it wasn’t a stretch for me to believe. But there wouldn’t be much of a story if everything went the way we expected.
An interesting conflict occurs when we add a third person to this group of four who has some ideas of her own. Before we know it, we find out that greed is not always good and everyone is participating in the very thing they were hell-bent on staying away from.
The cast shines as they square off with quick dialog that carries everything into an unpredictable ending. Excellent character development and brilliant acting assist in the reality of the story. As I mentioned, it seemed as though we were all involved, it was uncanny how the audience became part of the emotional turmoil as these naïve folks face a reality check.
The well-written tale is nicely executed by Shannon Cochran (Director) and a functional and simple stage set all help make DIRTY a sparkling production.
Highly entertaining DIRTY is a very today with a yesterday truth. Sometimes you just can’t play clean.
Written by: ANDREW HINDERAKER
Directed by: SHANNON COCHRAN
Cast: Robert Belushi, Sumiko, Braun, Lea Coco, Anna Konkle, Max Lesser
Run: Saturday, November 15 – Sunday, December 21, 2014
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm
7456 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069
For tickets, please call 323-960-4429 or visit www.plays411.com/dirty