By Maya Contreras; Directed by Lorca Peress
Part of the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 8.23.16
VENUE #15: SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street
by Zac Porter on 8.15.16
Thursday Farrar in Let the Devil Take the Hindmost. Photo by Caz McKinnon.
BOTTOM LINE: Some things never change. Like intrinsic and systemic racism, sexism, and all the isms.
Let The Devil Take The Hindmost takes a refreshing look back in time by portraying tensions within a multi-racial family in 1960s Washington DC. It’s somewhat eerie and comical to look back on past American societal norms compared to all the advancements that our nation has come to achieve in such a short period of time. However, discrimination and fallacies within the American structured government, especially when compared to today’s geopolitical climate, show how much of the same systemic oppression is still in place, and this is evident in Maya Contreras's play.
The piece is particularly interesting because it depicts the difference in views among generations. It seems like children will always want to fight their parents and enlighten them to the ways of modern society and how things can go, while parents constantly want to protect their kin. The parents in this play are Pablo (Felipe Gorostiza), a professor with Mexican heritage, and Vera (Thursday Farrar), a black teacher at a local high school. Their daughter Pauline (Analisa Velez) is newly an activist, fighting for any and all causes, apparently. She brings the family home a little surprise in the form of her new "mute" boyfriend, Michael (Bobby Crace), who despite having a Harvard law degree has decided that his efforts in taking down "The Man" and creating social change are best done through his absence of speech. There are a lot of social injustice issues touched on in this piece and at times it seems like director Lorca Peress is not attuned to dealing with all of these problems simultaneously. Even so, the issues of sexism and race pulse throughout the production and the wonderfully written text allows for a lot of rich themes to be played with and explored.
I hope to see this production on a larger (non-festival) scale because it would more accurately set the scene and create the late 1960s aesthetic. There also would be the ability to use more vintage materials and lay the foundation properly in terms of minute details that might aid in storytelling. Still, if you want to go back in time and compare how far America has come, this is a show worth seeing.
(Let The Devil Take The Hindmost plays at VENUE #15: SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, through August 23, 2016. The running time is 70 minutes. Performances are Fri 8/12 at 7; Sun 8/14 at 5:30; Wed 8/17 at 2:45; Sat 8/20 at 3:45; and Tue 8/23 at 7:15. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit letthedeviltakethehindmost.com.)
Let The Devil Take The Hindmost is by Maya Contreras. Directed by Lorca Peress. Lighting Design is by Kirk Bookman. Projection Design is by Christopher Marston. Hair and Wig Design is by John Dallas. Fight Choreography is by Carlotta Summers. Assistant Stage Managers are Cristina Noya and Lindsey Lauria.
The cast is Thursday Farrar, Felipe Gorostiza, Kaitlin Large, Nichole Thompson-Adams, Analisa Velez, and Bobby Crace.