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Washington DC by Tracy Lyon

Polaroid Stories

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.

Polaroid Stories
Catherine Deadman and Scott Kerns as Neon Girl and Skinhead Boy
The young cast as a whole does extremely well. They show the emotional depth needed to carry off such a complex piece. There is not a weak link in the bunch. Mayo Best III is perfect as the all-knowing Dionysus and he makes a wonderful foil for Scott Kerns’ cocky Skinhead Boy. Another standout performance is delivered by Cesar A. Guadamuz as Narcissus. Guadamuz manages to entertain, infuriate and inspire sympathy all at once.

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
Polaroid Stories
July 17th – August 10th
By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Keith Alan Baker
1333 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Ticket Information: (202) 332-3300 or www.studiotheatre.org

Cast List

D (Dionysus): Mayo Best III
Eurydice: Regina Aquino
Orpheus/Tereus: Jason McCool
Skinhead Boy: Scott Kerns
Neon Girl: Catherine Deadman
G (Zeus/Hades) Anthony Gallagher
Persephone/Semele: Elizabeth H. Richards
Narcissus: Cesar A. Guadamuz
Echo: Veronica del Cerro
Philomel: Salma Qarnain


Photo: Scott Suchman


-- Tracy Lyon


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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