The Collectors



Okay: this show did a very elegant job of declaring its mission statement up front, with a song titled “Follow Your Green.” Thing is, I don’t belong to that population that considers money, or the pursuit of it, to be inherently evil. The writer does, and that’s made abundantly clear by the fact that all of the characters in the show are cackling, conniving, and, quite literally, Satanic. They are inhuman. They aren’t real; they’re cartoons. Their ideology isn’t worth considering — so the show suggests — because it will obviously be rejected by any rational mind — like, say, the author’s.

The one exception among the cast of characters is a homeless man, who is allowed to be both wise and happy, because he is untouched by the evil of money. And, well — I find that kind of romanticization of poverty to be morally repugnant.

So, okay. I’m pretty hostile to this show right off the bat, mainly because it’s chosen to be incredibly hostile to me. But, hey — it’s pretty rare for me, occupying the corner of the political spectrum I do, to sit through any show that I have much in common with. I still enjoy plenty of them anyway, because I don’t need to agree with every point to find something worthwhile and entertaining in the performance.

This…is rougher going. It’s a musical, and many of the actors can’t sing. They might be able to someday, but they can’t now. Having a (clearly skilled) accompanist only serves to illustrate what the note that is being reached for is, as well as the failure to achieve it. And that’s upsetting, and it doesn’t make me angry at them, it makes me angry at the director who chose to put them in that position, to hold them up to public scrutiny.

Furthermore, many of the actors simply don’t know their lines. They stumble, repeat themselves, pause, lose their places, fumble to find them again. I don’t know the story behind that — but in my ignorance, it reads simply as a kind of lazy disinterest; as an assertion that the actors didn’t care enough about their characters, or the story, to perform the most basic level of preparation for it.

This should have been about contempt; a kind of vicious lashing-out against corporate greed. Instead, it reads as an act of intellectual contempt towards the audience. I wonder if I’m not being excessively unfair to this show — but then, I have to ask myself: why am I so worried about being fair to a show that’s demonstrated so little interest in playing fair with me?