Money Lab: Theater review by Jenna Scherer
It’s tax time, the season when everyone thinks about how capitalism has failed them. So it’s a fitting moment for Untitled Theater Company #61 to roll out Money Lab, an “economic vaudeville” that’s part variety show and part financial experiment. Audience members buy poker chips at the entrance, which can be used to purchase various items throughout the performance.
The appropriately charming Mick O’Brien emcees the evening, running auctions and explaining economic principles. The variety acts (they vary nightly) were a mixed bag: A dance piece set to media sound bites was mesmerizing, as was a Weimar-era cabaret act, but an awkward monologue performed in Adam Smith drag by economist Russ Roberts was tough to take.
I don’t know from economics, but I suspect that #61’s models for market fluctuation and the like are overly simplistic. But there was a lovely moment in which the audience organically pooled its resources to fund the work of one of the company members. “You’ve just invented Kickstarter,” O’Brien cheerily observed as we all chipped in a few drachmas. Makes you wonder what would happen if the real economy were governed by the behavior of indie theatergoers.—Jenna Scherer
HERE (see Off-Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Edward Einhorn. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.