Cost of Living
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Theater review by Adam Feldman
There is a scene in Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living that I will never forget. Ani (the terrific, hilariously vituperative Katy Sullivan) has lost her legs and the use of most of her body in an accident; her estranged husband, Eddie (Victor Williams), hoping for a reconciliation, bathes her tenderly in a tub. As soft music plays, he dances his fingers along her left arm, imagining he can play piano while she imagines she can feel it. It’s a moment of sad, sexy, vulnerable beauty.
Nothing else in Cost of Living quite equals this scene, but it has an effective counterpart—a fraught shower—in the play’s less successful parallel plot about John (Gregg Mozgala), a rich grad student with cerebral palsy, and his financially desperate caregiver, Jess (Jolly Abraham). Although Majok raises salient issues of physical and economic disadvantage, the play is uneven, and the brief final linking of its two halves feels forced. It is inspiring and encouraging, however, to watch its two disabled actors push the boundaries of their bodies’ visibility onstage.
Manhattan Theatre Club (Off Broadway). By Martyna Majok. Directed by Jo Bonney. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Through July 16.
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