Bled for the Household Truth - Theatre Review

By Annette Semerdjian

Alexandra Hellquist and Benjamin Burdick
Photo: John Perrin Flynn
"Bled for the Household Truth" is an engaging and exciting new play at Rogue Machine at The MET Theatre that had the audience on the edge of their seats. We were so invested in these characters, wanting to know what came next for them. Despite the characters' flaws and often repulsive behavior, the audience could see the small light of humanity within them that once shined brighter before their traumas molded them into the people they are. The play was inspired partly by a Craigslist ad that appeared intermittently between 2008 and 2010 proposing a discrete arrangement that would objectify a young woman in exchange for her paying very low rent for a top notch room in a New York apartment.

Stylized as "bled for the household truth," the play, directed by Cameron Watson, closes each scene in abrupt darkness once it reaches its peak, making the transitioning scenes equally as stark as the story itself.

One can easily empathize with these characters that initially were off-putting. The biggest part of the play's success in creating such compelling characters is from writer Ruth Fowler. Every bit of dialogue scratches closer to the truth, as unsettling yet necessary as it may be, in a natural progression.

Another part of the play's success was the performances by the amazing cast who portrayed such difficult roles so naturally. Rachel Brunner and Nathaniel Meek played Monica and Billy respectively and presented such key components to the theme of the play as background characters.

Rachel Brunner, Nathaniel Meek and Alexandra Hellquist
Photo: John Perrin Flynn
The story follows Pen, a woman who answers a Craigslist ad to live in a New York apartment for free as long as her roommate, the man who posted the ad, Keith, can gawk at her as she prances around in her underwear. Alexandra Hellquist plays Pen in a very compelling performance that bared such strength behind someone who was so vulnerable. Benjamin Burdick plays Keith with such intensity that his bouts of rage and deviance become palpable.

All the actors in this play bravely and honestly play such complex characters that exhibit the current culture and its lust for excess while missing out on real human connections.  This production is not easy to sit through because of how raw and openly it places the reality we often avoid right in front of our eyes, but it's the play's closing scene that makes the rough journey worth it.

Rogue Machine Theatre never shies away from making daring productions that bare the parts of ourselves and others often kept under wraps, and this latest production is the epitome of that.

"Bled for the Household Truth" presents the unique and evocative experience of local theatre that shouldn't be missed, playing at Rogue Machine at The MET Theatre, extended through Jan 28.

Posted By Annette Semerdjian on November 30, 2017 01:27 pm | Permalink