Broken Watch Theatre Company

presents

AMERICAN STORAGE

By EDWARD ALLAN BAKER

 

The Kirk Theatre, Theatre Row

410-412 W. 42 St.

(212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com

 

www.brokenwatch.org

 

October 29 – November 23, 2003

 

Directed by DREW DECORLETO

Scenic Designer J. WIESE

Costumes JITO LEE

Lighting CHRISTIEN METHOT

Sound DEREK HOLBROOK

Stage Manager HEATHER PRINCE

Press Representative SPRINGER/CHICOINE

Cast

Stephen Brumble, Jr. – Howard

Teresa L. Goding – Allie

Andrew J. Hoff – Bry

Leo Lauer – Rollie

 

Photo: Double Wide

Edward Allan Baker’s latest play, AMERICAN STORAGE, while heavy and dark, draws off the painful realities so many people bury deep inside. Here, we see what happens when those stored memories erupt, confront, and make the challenge to go on in spite of it all.

Set in Rhode Island, though it is hard to tell from the rather disparate regional accents that the actors use, AMERICAN STORAGE initially masquerades as a familiar tale of quarreling siblings sorting through their deceased mother’s belongings. This turns out to be far from the case. In this family, three of the four siblings are foster children, and it is these three (Allie, Bry and Rollie) who are, to varying degrees, on a desperate search to find themselves, or more specifically where they came from, in the stored remnants of their mother’s life. To complicate matters, these three have been routinely and woefully manipulated by the fourth, Howard, the birth child. A playwright, he uses the odd personalities of his siblings, magnifies them, and then recreates their lives to have material for the stage.

It is abundantly clear that J. Wiese’s set, in which only the tail end of the word storage is visible, proclaiming a towering RAGE to the audience, is more than appropriate to the action unfolding. There is rage, paranoia, bad memories, the display of what must be multiple personality disorder by at least two characters, and just plain malice and greed. What Mr. Baker has created in AMERICAN STORAGE is an awesome yet almost hideous look into the minds of some very psychologically scarred people. It is not, really, until the denouement that we realize just how much damage we are being introduced to, but an attentive audience should be able to pick up on some of those clues along the way. This is more the case in Act II, the tighter end of the play.

Aside from some slips in the fast-paced, abundant dialogue, there is not too much about this production that does not fit with the overall mood of AMERICAN STORAGE. I question the decision to include an intermission, especially when it was made very clear in the program that there would not be one. It broke the tension and flow of the piece, and even the choice to blast Eminem’s raging "Cleaning Out My Closet" as the sole source of music during those ten minutes could not seal that break in continuity.

In the end, Edward Allan Baker’s AMERICAN STORAGE is an often feverish blending of fantasy, reality, theatricality and broken dreams. Underneath the big dramas, however, it is a more universal tale about belonging and the search for self-identity. What we see is not, ultimately, what we get, but it is the journey to the end of the line that this new play is really about.

- Kessa De Santis -

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