The description starts out, “After a night of partying, two college students wake up in a meth den.” That teaser alone is likely to draw in a crowd; if not, the word of mouth about the exceptional acting, professional-level writing, and polished production ought to. It’s 45 minutes of exceptional storytelling. Written and directed by A. C. Horton of #theatrecompany, a recent graduate of UC-CCM’s Drama department, this multi-layered comedy-drama is full of intrigue, melodrama and some very funny moments.
Horton has cast it with several of her schoolmates. Connor Lawrence and Carli Rhoades are the young couple who wake up in the meth den. Laura McCarthy and Katie MacDonald play two meth heads who are under the control — or so he thinks — of a low-level drug dealer (Spencer Lackey). Rounding out the cast is Katie Langham in multiple characters. (Langham is also the company’s producer.)
The actors each bring nuance and depth to their performances. Lawrence is both innocent and terrified; Rhoades is annoyed but also guilt-ridden. Lackey’s character is deeply disturbed, but there’s a child inside him that loves his mother enough that he wants to name his baby after her.
The most touching relationship — and perhaps the real love story of this play — is the one between the two friends caught in this web of criminal activity and cultural poverty. McCarthy and MacDonald share a very tender moment in the middle of the show that serves as a humanizing centerpiece.
Unlike the hit television show Breaking Bad, this play doesn’t glamorize the seedy underbelly of the rural drug trade. Instead, in a uniquely black-comedy-driven way, it humanizes those caught in its trappings. What motivates these people? Is it more than just the money? Is it the high, the addiction they have to the drug itself? And once you get in so deep … is there any hope of recovery? These questions are unanswered.
Kirk Sheppard is a professional counselor and theatre blogger, covering professional theatre in Cincinnati and surrounding areas. Follow his blog, The Sappy Critic.
Read the official 32-page FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE here and find the full performance lineup here.