#69. I hate biking behind a garbage truck. I start to involuntarily wretch at the sight of the vehicle in the distance. As I get closer, the smell of rotting crap melding together gets more and more insufferable. And the sunnier the day, the worse the *baking* stench is. I always try to bike past the truck at record-breaking speeds while trying not to breathe.
Babes with Blades presents the world premiere of TRASH. Diane and Becky just buried their mother. Their post funeral grieving is being done in a landfill. Prodigal daughter Becky threw out an unopened letter from her dying mother. She is afraid to face her mother’s final words to her. Becky is a recovering heroin addict. After many failed attempts, Becky proclaims that she is finally and recently *clean*. Diane is skeptical of her sister and insistent that the letter be recovered. The sisters literally and figuratively sort through all the garbage. TRASH deals with a big, steamy pile of family crap.
Scenic Designer Jennifer Corcoran has TRASH-ed Side Project Theatre. It’s a fricking mess. Heaps of garbage are everywhere. The illusion is so authentic that I could swear it smells bad too. This is especially true during fight scenes where trash is flung, hurled and whacked all over the place. JK Choreography effectively designs violent babes-with-gas-can scenes. But the truly putrid fighting has sisters walloping each other with dripping, wet guck. It’s gross and makes me queasy.
There are two casts for this two sister tale. For my show, Alison Dornheggen (Diane) and Megan Schemmel (Becky) get real at the dump. Under the direction of Delia Ford, Dornheggen and Schemmel interact with accusatory sisterly disappointment. The banter feels genuine. The over-the-top fighting is pure, secret sibling fantasy. (who hasn’t imagined hitting her sister upside the head with a gas can?) The theatrical dramatics entertain.
Playwright Arthur M. Jolly won the “Join Sword & Pen 2011-12” contest. The Babes with Blades annual contest looks to produce new plays depicting women in combat. Jolly’s story is interesting. His dialogue is smart with plenty of witty one liners. It’s the overall premise that gives me pause. (With three sisters and plenty of unresolved family issues, a letter isn’t going to get me to a landfill.) Jolly raises the stakes a few times to keep the search going but initially and collectively, the reason for both sisters to get TRASH-ed over a letter seems more bunk than junk.
TRASH is an aesthetically disgusting spectacle. It’s worth a look-see for the fantastically dumpy set and the wicked sister-on-sister garbage brawl.
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
At Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis
Written by Arthur M. Jolly
Directed by Delia Ford
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 7pm
Thru May 5th
Buy Tickets at www.babeswithblades.org