WE ARE THE LAWMAKERS
nytheatre.com review by Mark DeFrancis
August 14, 2008
We Are The Lawmakers can only be described as a trip across the American psyche, with all its twists and turns, told through the mentally insane. It is a piece which, in an attempt to convey the cluttered American media, hurls so much at its audience that it is ultimately impossible to take it all in. This is, sadly, where Lawmakers fails to connect with an audience, which can only feel left behind by the rampant progress of this shocking but very confusing piece.
Lawmakers has virtually no plot to speak of but is composed of many loosely connected scenes, each of which touches vaguely on a different aspect of American life and culture. Writer/director Marc Andreottola takes an upper-class white family and quickly warps them into a cast of bizarre characters ready to carry out his work. Each of these new characters has no set identity and leaps in and out of the action with little regard for continuity. In fact, the entire piece evokes rapid channel surfing through a cluttered sea of conflicting thoughts and viewpoints, touching on everything from talk shows to the energy crisis.
Though I found much of this experience to be esoteric and hard to follow, there are some moments of brilliance that deserve mention. Will Porter brings a strong presence to Tits McGee, a gender-bending president, while performances by both Heather Bunch and Tyler Neale stand out from what is an exciting cast. Andreottola's use of costumes, set, and sound also merit praise. Here the writer/director shows his real strength. The set is a heap of newspaper trash, which actors wade through in evocative costumes, which give potency to the larger-than-life characters. Sound is a frenetic blend of media and static which enters the work at seemingly random times, adding to the fractured nature of the work.
This bold and complex piece strives to instill in viewers a sense of the twisted and perverse sides of our world view, our problems and our future as "Americans," but offers precious little for an audience to take away other than shock and disappointment. Theoretically, Lawmakers is an exciting and juicy prospect, but we just need a little more showing, and a lot less telling in Andreotolla's experimental work.