by Peter Freyne
Six characters on the third shift at a dilapidated car-parts plant in the rust belt are the fodder for Jim Lantz’s new play American Machine.
Ipsy, Teena, Lona, Buddy, Winkie and Lane.
Lane’s the 18-year-old son of the company owner, testing the summer-vacation waters on the family path to becoming the factory’s boss. Sweet, cute guy. He ends up knocking-up Teena [well-acted by Bridget Butler, by the way], a single-mom with two kids home with her mom.
Lona’s the Latina single-mom with a dead-end life, who’s mostly on a cell phone fighting for custody of her kid. In the back of my mind, I wondered why she’d have any shot at custody if she was working the third shift?
Buddy, played by prolific local actor Dennis McSorely, has been there for 35 years and is mostly into porn movies.
Winkie’s a big, fat, dumb you-know-what.
Not a lot of laugh lines in this 90-minute one-act, but one is Winkie’s about them giving him a week to come up with the 500 bucks to pay to f*** the gorilla.
And Ipsy, the shift supervisor, has an accent, a limp and some kind of learning-disability.
You got it - a very depressing crew.
"Life Sucks and Then You Die" would be an apt alternate title.
What shone through to this blogger/reviewer was the effort Lantz the writer/director put into it. An admirable quest for some kind of meaning in meaningless times.
“Once you got a mold,” says Ipsy, “you can make anything from plastic.”
American Machine will be at the Flynn Space though October 7.
Just can’t beat live theater.
Thank you, Mr. Lantz.