Imagine sitting front row, dead center for over two hours at a play. Now add the fact that its a week night and you have tons of homework and other things you could be doing. This was me Tuesday night, when I had to attend Curse of the Starving Class at the Wilma theater for my Collaborative Art class.
Although I was dreading having to sit there and watch a play when I could be getting homework done, I quickly became engaged in the atmosphere and action of the play.
Set in pre-suburban Southern California, the audience was introduced to the Tate family trying to survive the changes happening in their lives and society. The family’s farm is chaotic, not producing enough and leaving the family in financial ruin. At the same time, debt collectors are increasingly seeking ways to get their money from the Tates.
Through dark comedy and engrossing twists, each member of the family goes through extremes and downfalls to try and combat the “curse of the starving class.”
The action takes place in one setting—the Tates kitchen. The family consists of a drunk, absent father, neurotic mother, rebellious daughter, and back-talking son. Both the mother and father separately plan to sell their house without the other knowing. Through chaotic events and havoc, the family spirals to their wits ends and failing to pull themselves out of the “curse of the starving class.”
Never experiencing the action and atmosphere from the front row, I almost felt like I was a part of the play. The action was right in my face and, at times, almost awkward for me to be so close.
In one particular scene, the son comes out on stage completely naked. Sitting front row, dead center at that point was the last place I wanted to be. The son’s nakedness was a result of his father’s story that after walking around the house naked after getting a bath played a part in making him a new man. The son was merely copying his father’s actions to try and bring about the same change in him.
I’m quite aware of the fact that this was meant to add to the artistic part of the play as well as the comedic, but I felt that the story and artistic value would not have been lost in any way if the son did not come out naked. After talking to some students from my class, they seemed to feel the same way.
“Although I liked the talented acting and easy to understand plot, I did not like the shock value of the nudity or the explosion at the end, which seemed slightly unwarranted,” said junior Erik Viking.
The easy to follow plot line made for more engagement in the play as well as the carefully thought out stage and set design that perfectly resembled a lower to middle class kitchen in pre-suburban California times.
“Although I felt the nudity was unnecessary, the scenery was beautifully constructed,” said senior Framary Delacruz Santos.