Keep is co-porduced by Mastodon Theatre Company and Wide Eyed Productions at The Barrow Group and covers hoarding, family and the pain that drives us to destructive behavior.
Here Naomi (Kim Krane) a young hoarder, is trapped in her home by her own belongings, unable to throw anything away after losing her only friend, Margo (Leslie Marsegila) and sister. When Naomi’s sisters Jane (Madison Comerzan) and Kara (Jenna D’Angelo) surprise her with an intervention, she is forced to start cleaning her home. Her sisters don’t realize, however, that Naomi blames them for Margo’s disappearance and that her resentment towards them grows larger the longer they clean. As Naomi extracts her revenge by trapping her sisters in her home. In the meantime we learn about this family’s dysfunctionality and how each has had to cope. For Naomi the rubbish is symbolic and her way of coping with memories. As her sisters attempt to make sense of it she brings about a self-revelatory truth in order to push them further away. As the play ends Naomi has intentionally separated herself from her sisters and reality.
The performances are first rate with each handling their monologues with astute honesty.
Stephanie C. Cunningham’s direction is psychological interesting. The lighting by Cate DiGirolamo hauntingly beautiful. The set by J. Alexander Diaz is too clean. I never felt that it was terrorizing to be in this place or that something was going to crawl out or move. I have been in several hoarders residences and they are terrifying.
This is Pazniokas’ first work and she is a playwright to nurture and watch, though Keep is not yet there. There are holes in the relationships and too many questions rather than answers. What sent Naomi to this place? Who really is Margo? In the play both my quest and I thought she was the 4th sister yet in reading the indigogo page she is just a friend. What was this family’s real trauma’s. What is good about this work is we want to know more.
The demystifying of why somebody hoards is an interesting subject and I hope Pazniokas continues on her journey.
Keep: Mastodon Theatre Company and Wide Eyed Productions, TBG Theatre at 312 36th St. until April 30th