American life is in free fall, at least according to award-winning playwright, Lisa D’Amour in Detroit, running at Catastrophic Theatre through Oct. 18. D’Amour’s romp through middle class suburbia backyard life has garnered rave reviews in this excellent production. Catastrophic veteran actor and playwright Troy Schulze directs with a cast including such noted local actors as Sara Jo Dunstan, George Parker, Jeff Miller, Misha Hutchings and Jim Tommaney. A revolving set by Kevin Holden adds yet another reason to see this production.
The Obie-winning "Detroit" is as much about the endangered middle class, the fading dream of a secure, satisfying suburban paradise, as it is about the two couples. But D'Amour's quirky characters and their recognizably human foibles are interesting in their own right.
The foursome experiences its share of bonding, surprises, personal setbacks and sudden hostilities in all directions. Deciding to return to nature, the two wives set out on a camping expedition, while Kenny convinces Ben their best response is a boys' night out at a strip club. When things don't work out as planned, all regroup in Ben and Mary's backyard and fall into a sort of impromptu primal revel that serves as the play's climax
At the end of Lisa D'Amour's provocative, spiky, prize-winning Detroit, suburban middle class couple Mary and Ben (Mischa Hutchings and Ben Miller) face their own apocalypse. All they have left among the burned out ruins of their American Dream is each other. It's not a rosy picture.
Lisa D'Amour’s play examines critical questions and themes that as are addressed in today’s society such as what does being neighbors mean anymore, our quest to return to nature, discussion of the middle class and that is just to name a few of the topics. This play was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize award and this year won the Obie Award for Best New American Play. Director Troy Schulze brings together an exciting, compelling cast to bring this touching, poignant play to life.
With Kenny and Sharon grasping for stability just as Ben and Mary are bridling at suburban routine, "Detroit" reflects on the uncertainty of the middle class, the modern definition of "neighbor," the Thoreauvian impulse to return to nature and the search for second chances.
A turntable stage swings from one backyard to the other. In Detroit, playwright Lisa D'Amour's play about (despite its name) an unidentified suburbia, two couples end up living next door to each other and meet over a backyard barbecue.
Founded in 2007 by Tamarie Cooper and Jason Nodler, formerly of the late, lamented Infernal Bridegroom Productions, the Catastrophic Theatre is Houston's standard bearer for avant-garde drama and comedy. In keeping with their egalitarian ethos, the company has a long-standing pay-what-you-can policy. But just because you can get away with paying one dollar doesn't mean you should: in fact, Catastrophic suggets a $25 ticket price, which still make it among the cheapest in town. Even $25 isn't enough to cover the full cost of the production, of course, but it certainly helps. And if you want to pay a littlemore than $25 for some of the most vital theater in Houston, nobody's going to stop you.
Lisa D'Amour is an acknowledged force in avant-garde theater. Catastrophic Theatre and artistic director Jason Nodler have championed her work in Houston with "Anna Bella Eema" and the world premiere of her "Hide Town." Now, the company is preparing the Houston premiere of the Obie-winning "Detroit." Set in any "first-ring suburb" of a major metropolis (not necessarily Detroit), it depicts two neighboring couples (including one husband newly unemployed) sharing barbecue and reflects upon all types of contemporary angst, especially involving upward, downward and/or nonexistent mobility