ProACTive Artists deserves plaudits for staging two short
Reviewed by Sarah Krasnow
Massachusetts-born playwright Israel Horovitz holds the curious honor of being a celebrated American playwright whose sensitive, topical, and very American works are most popular in
Both Rats and The Indian Wants the Bronx feature only three characters. Appearing first in the double-bill, the 20-minute Rats includes city rat Jebbie, king of the Harlem sewers; country rat Bobby, a greenhorn from
Throughout this swapping of personal stories, DeVito and Murray paint a convincing picture of the literal rat race, with droll takes on how a Harlem and a
In The Indian Wants the Bronx, the lone Gupta (Himad Beg) stands at a bus stop at night amidst fallen leaves and newspapers, when Murph (Doug Schneider) and Joey (Josh Farhadi) come jostling in. Guffawing, whooping, yelling, “Pussyface!” at someone in an upstairs window – we’re not surprised when, the moment they spy Gupta, the slurs start to flow. So complete in their ignorance they can’t decide on Gupta’s country of origin, the remarks range from “Turkie” (as in Turkish), to lumping Indian from
Awkward staging creates a few other problems. Although Joey and Murph taunt Gupta with increasing aggression, they don’t seem to be blocking his exit in any way. Yet through taunt after taunt, Gupta stands tolerantly by the bus station until the threats have him really, really worried - why didn’t he run at the first, second, or third sign of trouble? Gupta also has ample time to avail himself of the phone booth next at the stop. The booth later comes across as a horror movie prop when Murph lets Gupta talk to his son -- only to cut the cord -- but until then, nothing’s stopping him from popping in a dime. Why should both victim and tormentor ignore such a significant escape route for so long? As Gupta, Himad Beg gives the most convincing performance here, mastering the difficult task of acting as though he understands nothing. However, he cannot understand so little that it wouldn’t occur to him to try to get help.
The late 1960’s