For a theatre industry still limping back after the shutdown two years ago, this world premiere of Garbageman directed by Greg Cicchino is timely. Set in December 2020 through January 2021, and even though collectively it is not a time we look back on in fondness, it is a surprisingly cathartic production. The playwright, Keith Huff, gives the audience permission to laugh at some gruesome events, and the story is full of plot twists that only the darkest corners of your mind might predict. It is, after all, a dark comedy.
The Chain Theatre is an intimate space, creating an experience for the audience that is palpable. Garbageman is a two-handed script following characters Dan Bandana (Deven Anderson) and Buddy Maple (Kirk Gostkowski). Both actors do a great job pulling you into the absurdity and somehow make their precarious personalities and grim mistakes engaging. The dialogue is fast-paced and lively and at times peppered with just enough breathing space for the audience to guess how the punchline might land.
The set design by Richard Hoover was fitting – grungy yet straightforward, and versatile for a small stage with multiple settings. The walls are pieced together to create an apartment, a sidewalk, etc; however, it’s distracting to watch the scene changes. They were on the longer side and took me out of the action of the play; a scene change can only be so long before you think something has gone wrong. Maybe an extra stagehand could have made all the difference in the valuable seconds between the action.
Garbageman is a delightfully strange and uniquely dynamic tale of two old friends with a murky relationship helping each other through a new stage in life. This production is a welcomed jab at some of the insanity the world has witnessed. Tickets are $25 and are now available online at www.ChainTheatre.org or at the theater box office ½ hour prior to a performance.
Running Time: 110 minutes; there will be one 10 minute intermission.
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