Playwright, Barbara Lindsay’s, Want had its delayed opening the weekend of august 4th at the Center Theatre. The Shattered Glass Project—an organization with the mission of giving the stage to marginalized people and stories—produced Want, which also happens to be the organization’s first production. For 90 minutes the audience gets to see how poverty affects and ultimately warps desire.
Want is a completely original script that tells the story of newlyweds, Ruby and Earl. The entirety of the show takes place in their new-to-them studio apartment. Dirty and in need of unpacking, this one room storytelling approach fits perfectly on the stage at Center Theatre because the lack of the traditional raised stage makes the audience feel as though they are in the room with Ruby and Earl.
At times this intimate setting feels nearly too intimate. Like the show starting with the couple in bed and Ruby screaming her orgasm to the heavens above. This is not a show for kids and probably not a show you want to see with your parents. Ruby and Earl quickly go from a sexually charged couple that adores each other to a couple drained by the stressors of a poverty-stricken life. When a well-meaning neighbor asks Ruby to not be so loud when having sex the cracks in the foundation of the new marriage become painfully apparent.
Ruby and her antics are definitely the star of the show from her ability to cry or come or hatch up “pretend” murder plots all thanks to the acting expertise of Kathy Hsieh. Hsieh even had the vernacular of a person who likely didn’t have much of an education. At times though her dialogue feels a little on the nose as not every poor person talks like a poor person, especially at the intensity that Hsieh has to do it. Whether this was a choice made by Lindsay or the director, Maureen Hawkins, it is unknown.
Earl is the dutiful husband, albeit a little one dimensional. Sure, he has problems like a dead ex and erectile dysfunction, but these things are just briefly mentioned while Ruby’s issues tend to be the focus. Despite his one dimensionality, he is a character that people want to know more about because of actor, Ronnie Hill. Without Hill inserting humor and soul in Earl the character would not be the same.
The show’s best quality though is that it is raw and unfiltered. The dialogue for the most part isn’t pretty, but it’s reminiscent of how two lovers talk when they are full of lust or jealousy or exhaustion. Want spins a tale that goes completely out of control and the audience is caught in its web. This show deserves to be seen because it is honest. Honesty isn’t always lovely to look at, but it is always good.
Want by Barbara Lindsay. Center Theatre @ The Armory Building, Seattle Center 305 Harrison St., Seattle WA 98109. August 4-August 14, 2022 Thursday-Saturday @ 7:30 p.m. Sunday @ 2 p.m. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/want-by-barbara-lindsay-tickets-309014068397