by Martin Brady
Music City’s new Five Dollar Recession Theater Company (FDR) should definitely gain some attention with this inaugural production. Deborah Zoe Laufer’s dark comedy exposes us to eccentric characters haunted by the trauma of 9/11. The chief victim here is 16-year-old Rachel Stein. She’s goth. She’s nihilistic. And why not? Her catatonic dad, Arthur, was the only surviving employee of his company — everyone else perished in one of the World Trade Center towers. Now he just sits, eternally depressed.
Meanwhile, her mom Sylvia has traded Judaism for Jesus. Rachel’s got a new neighbor, too — a young man her age who likes her a lot (good), but who has an Elvis obsession (weird). Also visiting the action is the son of God himself and an even higher power — Stephen Hawking!
The director is Nat McIntyre (most recently seen playing Iago to Eddie George’s Othello for Nashville Shakespeare Festival). The cast features Ross Bolen, Craige Hoover, Dallas Woods and Madeline Marconi. Also co-starring is Nettie Kraft, who, along with Belmont theater professor Jim Al-Shamma, is the co-founder of FDR, an organization committed to plays “with low production values but high artistic integrity” that aims to partner with local professionals and students to mount “unique material that may not find its way onto other Nashville stages.”