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18 April 2011, 11:00 am No Comments

DC Theatre Review: Caridad Svich’s “Magnificent Waste”

This post was submitted by Kira

Tony Villa, Lisa Hodsoll as shock artist Lizzie B. and Sarah Strasser; Photo by Stan Barouh, Courtesy of Factory 44

“I feel like my mind has been blown,” I announced as I walked into the door of my apartment. I had just walked off the metro on Friday night feeling dazed and overwhelmed, after having spent the previous 75 minutes sitting front row and center of Magnificent Waste, it was hard to feel anything beyond a mixed-sense of confusion and awe. Magnificent Waste, a Factory 449 production by Caridad Svich and directed by John Moletress, is playing from April 9 until May 8 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint in Washington D.C.

Upon entering the small theatre, the audience had a chance to walk through the set, before taking our seats, to examine the scene more closely, which further incited the feeling of being a part of the show.  The production had the ability to shift softly from quietly thoughtful acting to bold raging scenes, with the enhancement of film and video throughout the show. Each character embraced their passion, yet attempted to hide their truth to the rest, though allowing the audience to catch glimpses throughout until finally exposed.

Stephen F. Schmidt, Lisa Hodsoll as shock artist Lizzie B. and James T. Majewski (boy in boa as part of art installation) Photo by Stan Barouh, Courtesy of Factory 449

A five person show featured the talents of Lisa Hodsoll, Tony Villa, Sarah Strasser, Stephen Schmidt, and James Majewski, offered a glimpse into the lives of a materialistic and image focus group of people.   Lizzie B., an edgy alternative artist, begins to further progress her work when she features a young boy in a piece she calls, “Zone 1.” Events take a turn when the artist begins an affair

with the buyer of her piece, despite that she is already involved in an ménage with a talk-show host and a socialite/”actress.” The scenes offer a glimpse into their lives filled with alcohol, sex, and drugs, and not to mention, taking advantage and using each other when convenient or the mood strikes.

Beyond the intensity of the subject, each line evoked philosophical and even existential questions and opinions. From the basic yet complex question of what it art?  To the more focused ponderings of questioning the purpose of the constant consumption. If it is not fulfilling, does it fill us at all?  How do we make a move away from it before we ourselves are swallowed up with it, and become the object of that same consumption?  The title itself, Magnificent Waste, offers its own observation to the matters discussed throughout the show.

This show is not a light-hearted affair, however it manages to shine a hazy light on life that shows the humor, truth, beauty, and absurdity of it all. Magnificent Waste will offer you a thought-provoking night that will surely focus your attention on matters that are often not held under a microscope. You will definitely walk away with a few more questions than answers.

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