The Eviction
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by David Allen

Iíve been meeting more and more people lately who live in their cars or are on the verge of becoming homeless. The people Iím talking about are not unemployed. They have jobs; some have families. They simply donít make enough money to pay the ever-increasing cost of rent. I meet a lot of homeless people at the YMCA. For about $50 a month they have a warm place to go every evening to exercise, shower and change their clothes before they curl up in a sleeping bag in their car at night and drive to work the next day. This beats paying one to two thousand dollars a month for a small apartment. When youíre working for $8 to $12 an hour, your wage doesnít even pay the rent let alone food and other bills.

The Eviction, now playing at Magic Theatre, is the story of one man who is about to become homeless. Written by Victor Lodato, this play is visually and verbally poetic. It uses Bunraku, hand and rod puppet techniques to help tell the story of the manís inner turmoil. Another interesting technique is that a reader is used to tell the manís story. The reader, like society as a whole is not sympathetic with the manís plight. At times he is eager to end this manís life so he no longer has to think about him.

While this is a very interesting and innovative play that those who like experimental drama will probably enjoy, the homeless character is simply not sympathetic enough for most audiences. The man is totally isolated, schizophrenic and on the verge of losing what few societal skills he still has. He doesnít work and lives on some minimal government subsistence. He is a lost soul. Why should the audience care about him?

Lodato would have had a far more powerful play if he made his character a little more sympathetic. If the man had a job that simply didnít pay him enough to make it in our inflated world or wasnít as mentally challenged as this character was, The Eviction would have had far more impact on the audience.

For tickets or more information call (415) 441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.

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