As we wave hello to our parents this Homecoming weekend (and cross our fingers that they won’t wave too fervently in Usdan), Kirby Sokolow ’14 urges us to consider the following: how would you feel if someone waved at you holding your recently amputated hand?
It is this ominous question that sparks the adventures of Carmichael in Martin McDonagh’s “A Behanding in Spokane.” Carmichael has lived the past 27 years as an amputee and has dedicated his life to finding his missing body part and seeking revenge on those who took what was rightfully his.
The play peeks into the end of his journey, in which Carmichael, played by Paulie Lowther ’13, encounters a young couple claiming to have his hand, as well as a nosy hotel clerk. The eccentricities of each character provoke Carmichael to perform what he believes to be rational actions and to grow increasingly insane in his attempts to regain his hand.
“I love characters, they’re my favorite part of any show,” Sokolow said.
Luckily for her, “Behanding” gave Sokolow a great opportunity to explore her favorite aspect of theater. Carmichael is an intimidating fellow despite his lack of an extremity, sporting a Matrix-esque leather jacket throughout the show. Mervyn, the hotel clerk played by Tim Wolock ’13, is too busy looking for an exciting action movie scene within the downtrodden hotel to bother managing the front desk. He is partial to monkeys and sitting around in his boxers. Toby and Marilyn, played by Matt Lynch ’15 and Maddy Oswald ’14, are two young lovers who do not spare a minute of pestering each other even when their lives are at stake. They are strictly in the marijuana business, which proves to have a great many differences from the spare hand trade, putting them at odds with Carmichael.
Perhaps in honor of Parents’ Weekend, Carmichael’s hysterical mother makes her way into the show without ever gracing the stage (sound anything like your college experience?). “Behanding” is the perfect opportunity to show Mom what crazy conversations your friends overhear while she’s talking your ear off on her third phone call of the day. Even cool guys with leather jackets and guns like Carmichael call their mothers, so there’s no need to be too embarrassed when your mom introduces herself to every staff member in Usdan this weekend.
The tongue-in-cheek language of the play, along with its bizarre characters, makes for an entertaining evening in a hotel room. “Behanding” is also refreshing in its lack of politically correct language—risky business for a Wesleyan audience. However, Oswald’s character does reveal her inner Wes kid when she calmly reasons with her kidnapper regarding his use of racial slurs, even while a gun is pointed in her face.
“A Behanding in Spokane” goes up in the ’92 Theater on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Usdan Box Office. Bring your family, and prepare for a fun night of some dark, hands-on theatrical fun.