Dallas — Three young women in stylish business attire and stilettos run full gait onto the stage, crash into the rolling bar, and launch into each other in an all-out screaming cat-fight, hurling four-letter words and throwing each other to the floor in outrage. Behind them, a screen rolls the gyrating prices of the stock market. Suddenly, the free-for-all slacks up for a moment, and one-woman smoothes her frazzled hair and silk pantsuit and confides in a knowing voice, “We’re being shopped—by Goldman-Sachs!”
Investor numbers and names fly by in the opening minutes of Ted Gwara’s Wealth Management, a House Party Theatre production, directed at breakneck speed by Taylor Harris at the 18th annual Festival of Independent Theatres.
The 33-minute satire riffs on the evils of Wall Street and the smart and self-serving egomaniacs that seek to make their fortune at the expense of their investors. Everybody blames everyone else for the collapse of their firm’s portfolios, and the national financial crisis. All eagerly seek refuge in another job—whatever loyalties need be sacrificed to land it.
The women barely reach time-out before a couple of fast-talking, slam-banging male colleagues crash into the office, heading for the bar and knocking back bourbon shots with the gals. But when the serious drinking game gets underway, a secret is revealed and all the characters begin inventing scenarios to explain how “the accident” occurred.
The fast dialogue and physical energy of the cast is remarkable, and some of the lines are witty. Lindsay Ryan, Kristen Kelso and Steph Garrett demonstrate that the female of the financial species is more deadly than the male, whether wielding a corkscrew or ice tongs. One woman blames her risky investment choices on her hopes to buy a second home for herself and a maybe house for her folks. “Now I can’t even pay off my Nordstrom bill,” she sulks.
Brady Stebelton and Ryan Christopher Woods are slick as an Armani jacket or a hundred-dollar haircut, and their buddy business is funny.
Gwara’s dialogue has some spark in places, but the show is performed for the most part at a wearing, high-decibel shout, and the plot takes a suspiciously sentimental turn for such a satiric beginning, ending with a muddled message. The House Party Theatre troupe is fun to watch, though, and bear seeking out for their upcoming shows.
» See more info about the 2016 Festival of Independent Theatres in our special section here, where you can also learn how to download our FIT app. In that app, you'll see a section for the playbills for each company, which includes cast, creative and director's notes.
» See more info about the 2016 Festival of Independent Theatres here.
» Read our interview with Ted Gwara
Wealth Management is performed in the following blocks:
- 8pm Saturday, July 16
- 5pm Sunday, July 17
- 8pm Saturday, July 23
- 2pm Sunday, July 24
- 8pm Thursday, July 28
- 2pm Saturday, July 30