Classes Clash at the City Theatre
This past weekend, Southside’s own City Theatre unveiled their latest showcase in the form of Elemeno Pea – a play that originally premiered in 2011 at the 35th anniversary celebration of the Humana Festival of New American Plays; it has since favored national appeal for its hilarious chemistry and well oiled cast.
The play is set to the back drop of Martha’s Vineyard inside the fantastical guest home of trophy wife Michaela (Kimberly Parker Green), who is married to the incredibly wealthy marketing genius behind a handful of successful Budweiser commercials. Michaela’s assistant Simone (Robin Abramson) is granted an all-access-pass to the amenities provided by the hyper affluent couple, and is additionally awarded a six-figure salary for her presence on the estate, and for devoting her constant beck-and-call to Michaela.
The play kicks off by Simone inviting her blue collar Buffalo-blooded sister, Devon (Ariel Woodiwiss), to the Martha’s Vineyard estate for a luxurious taste of weekend high life. However, their “sisters weekend” is suddenly interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Flames quickly ignite when Devon and Michaela, two very volatile representatives of the 99 and 1-percent’s, finally meet. The two constantly vie for attention of the mutually loved Simone, who is forced to pick sides between the bold pair as they mince blatantly aggressive words on stage.
Inspired by the real life culture clash observed by playwright Molly Smith Metzler after a summer spent on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, Elemeno Pea throws Old Navy and Vineyard Vines into a hollowed out glass forty filled with gasoline and ignites the conflict like a Molotov cocktail. The performance raises the dilemma of whether or not it’s possible to remain true to oneself and family when faced with consumerist temptations of pampered lifestyle, and tactfully highlights the malicious rivalry between two opposing classes.
The Tracy Brigden directed play is successfully foul-mouthed, sympathetic, critical, and shockingly funny. When you see it yourself, it will be evident from the very first joke that the cast is on the verge of having just as much fun as you will.