Hoist @ Tesseract Theatre Company

Another troubled woman takes center stage
in the third offering in Tesseract’s 2019 Festival of New Plays, Erin Lane’s Hoist. Skyler, an Afghanistan veteran in her early
thirties, was brutally raped by a superior officer. He got a medal. She got no satisfaction and still can’t get
the Veteran’s Administration to grant her disability payments. She’s separated from her ex-husband who was
with her in Afghanistan but did not give her the support she felt he should have after
the rape. Their child lives with him. Skyler lives her bitterness while working
in a basement bar in Chicago. Governor, an African-American Viet Nam veteran
in his sixties, manages the bar. It’s Veteran’s Day 2008, but neither veteran
is celebrating. Skyler trades shots with her friend Bianca,
single now, around 50, a regular and the only customer in the bar this morning. Leslie, a young woman looking for work, claims
to be twenty-one but obviously isn’t and admits to being on the run from an unhappy home life. Skyler hires her. She entertains Skyler and Bianca with her
seeming innocence, though that eventually gets called into question. A marine in uniform walks into the bar. It’s Simon, in his thirties, Skyler’s ex. He’s stationed in Chicago. He’s come to the bar on a mission. Two of them. Only one is successful. Playwright Erin Lane’s dialogue crackles. It’s filled with f-bombs and m-fs and other
obscenities. They seem right in the mouths of these characters. The dialogue makes good theatre. At the play’s deepest moments, I wanted more
from the language. Lane has constructed a play that sometimes
deserves richer language. Director Kevin J. Bowman and his cast did
well with the play they had. Rachel Bailey took Skyler deep. Dana Wachtel’s Bianca was putting up a good
front as her light faded. Sherard Curry’s Governor has a confidence
gained from long experience that made him almost admirable even at his worst. As young Leslie, Mikaylin Padilla was innocent
and eager and cute until she wasn’t. Erik Kuhn gave Simon the ram-rod bearing of
a Marine with a quiet intensity – too quiet sometimes – and alert concern. Katie Palazzola designed the minimal set,
Cheyenne Groom the lights, Phillip Evans the sound, and John Everett choreographed the
fight. In the play Hoist, the barflies hoist their
shots and try to hoist their pain.

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