NY Theater Review by Sandi Durell
Money, money, money, money, money, money . . . money makes the world go around, the world go around . . . Yes, that’s what the folks out at Governors Island Pershing Hall (a HERE Production, Kristin Marting director) seem to impart in this new immersive and participatory theater experience.
Paper! Not just for stationery or greeting cards – feel it, smell it – but money!
The Tender, Inc. company goes back many generations and is now headed up by CEO Jim Tender (Peter McCabe) as we listen to the history on video screen. A time of innovation and integrity! They’re a paper company established pre-Revolutionary War and we, the audience, are engaged by the players in now time – 2008 (yes, that crash), who represent the different company entities: Communication (sexy Latin accented Jenniffer Diaz as Patricia Silver), Owners (one eye patched Polly Tender played by Mary Rasmussen), Workers (rough and tumble type foreman Franklin – Daniel Kublick) and Management (jealous competitive college mates Brenda & Circe – Megan Hill & Mariana Newhard).
We get to know their stories and backgrounds as the actors, within each scene, pitch their winning plans for future success and we are swayed to make choices. Who to believe, what to do.
We are handed different colored cards on entry and after instructions, break up into groups, follow the actors to different rooms where we’re engaged in the various scenes portrayed and are then led into the ‘trading room’ (a small stage, multi screens where 2008 stock market tapes are running) so that we can trade our color cards, receive some fake cash and buy stock in the story group of choice, even receiving a stock certificate. The ‘financial advisors’ – Mike Iveson Jr. and Daphne Gaines – sure know how to tell a tale of love, financial woe and spin their spin (section written by Eisa Davis).
These two do shine as the Government Auditors (Smith & Jones) who finish each other’s sentences and simultaneously spit out words in bureaucratic style like the precision of the Rockettes.
But just when you think you understand where this is going, they break out into song and dance movements that continue throughout and in the various room scenes as well!
It’s all a bit jumbled as we chase around from room to room listening to the pitches and then back and forth to the trading floor to either buy, sell, trade, hold or maybe even borrow some bucks.
Given some time and maybe a few re-writes, this feels like it should have a life of fun and games.
The cast (also including the ditzy intern Brooke Ishibashi & Dax Valdes as Andrew Tender) is enthusiastic and keeps you engaged. And set designer David Evans Morris has done wonders in making Pershing Hall feel like the executive offices of the multi faceted Tender, Inc. The writers include: Erin Courtney, Robert Lyons, Qui Nguyen, KJ Sanchez, Chris Wells.
What have we learned? Choices have consequences!
Photo Credit: Carl Skutsch
Trade Practices continues thru September 21st www.HERE.org