Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Also see Tracy's review of Monster
Studio Theatre rarely takes a safe path and with their production of Polaroid Stories they have once again they have proven they are willing to take chances. Described as "a series of snapshots," the show focuses on a variety of runaway kids. Each one has a story to tell and each story is more painful than the next.
Penned by Naomi Iizuka, Polaroid Stories is a mix of mythology and reality. The show may take its structure from Ovid's Metamorphoses but its subjects are real. Much of the source material for this play comes from a photo essay called Raised by Wolves by Jim Goldberg. In his essay, Goldberg pointed a spotlight on the diverse characters that spend their lives on the street.
The play is beautifully written. It is gritty and harsh and at times it can be poetic. Above all else, it feels real. The connection between Ovid and the ugly existence of these characters is expertly crafted and the characters themselves are clear and fleshed out.
The piece is directed by Keith Alan Baker. Baker seems to understand these characters and the turmoil of their lives. He has nurtured and developed the material and the result is a living, breathing piece of art.
The simple set is the creation of Giorgos Tsappas which does well in capturing some older elements while offering a contemporary urban feel. Lighting design by Peter N. Joyce enhances the movement of the piece, and the costumes by Brandee Mathies capture the hodgepodge existence of living on the street.
In the end, Polaroid Stories is not a pretty piece and it is as far from light entertainment as one can get. However, the stories it tells are ones that are often so easy to ignore. These stories have merit and there are lessons that can be learned, if not from the content then from the incredible passion with which they are conveyed.
The Studio Theatre
D (Dionysus): Mayo Best III