Directed by Brian Golden
Produced by Theatre Seven of chic ago
At The Greenhouse Theater, Chicago
Urban nomads a strange subject that may only be relevant to 20-30something singles
I must state upfront that me and most of the other 60+ year old audience members had trouble finding relevance in Brooke Berman’s Hunting and Gathering. Besides the use of direct-to-the-audience monologues that found the Ruth character (Tracey Kaplan) speaking so fast and running her words together and the annoying use of a TV monitor, I found the story of these 20-30somethings to be trite and unnecessary. Ruth brags about having over two dozen NYC apartments in 15 years since college. Da? The litany of apartments speaks to her lack of stability and maturity as well as her inability to hold a job and get along with roommates.
Add Astor (Todd Garcia), the self indulgence unstable couch surfing guy to the mix and you have a story about whining irresponsible adults struggling to find both a home and stability as their journey of self-discovery has them living like urban nomads. Add the insecure recent divorce, Jesse (Michael Salinas), a recent move-in to a studio, and the socially aggressive collegiate, Bess (Paige) who almost orders Jesse into an affair and Hunting and Gathering becomes a TV sitcom-ish comedy without the laughs.
The early monologues featuring rapid speech and pointless ramblings about apartments came across as whining. I found all four of the characters as insecure losers devoid of ambition and self-confidence. Why Ruth has to move so often is never adequately explained and Astor’s unwillingness to work makes couch surfing an urban survival skill fro him.
I guess Berman’s characters never considered a steady job, saving money and life planning while they struggle with their personal identity issues? I found nothing interesting nor anything redeeming about these four people. Maybe the 20-30somethings will find the search for a meaningful ‘home’ situation relevant? I found these folks to be lazy, anti-social self-adsorbed hedonists.
Only the younger audience members laugh during the show. Us gray heads seemed to node off as the story seemed to go nowhere. Berman’s premise that woman must consider becoming a predatory towards men to survive rings hollow. I also found the story shallow and the dialogue sounded like actors saying the playwright’s words rather than realistic speech from actual characters.
I guess this play will possibility speak to the 20-30somethings? It sure lost my attention quickly. Be warned.
At the Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-404-7336, tickets $24, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission.