The Argument
Attic Theater,  NY
by Gregory Moss
directed by Kerry Whigham
lights Mike Inwood, clothes Sydney Gallas
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Review:
experience inspired by the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

This loosely structured play by Gregory S. Moss has been staged by Kerry Whigham for the Attic Theater Company in the Downtown Community Television Center.

Distilling New Orleans down to basics, the production initially evokes the city via a saxophonist, a policeman and a dive bar run by twin sisters. Lonely, romance-starved Ana (Sara Montgomery) and sullen, anesthetized Mia (Monica Hammond) inherited the bar at 13 and have endured this “life with no light in it” for the six years since.

The simple but effective image of a human caterpillar bearing aloft a sheet of plastic conjures the rising waters in the aftermath of Katrina. The shell-shocked monologues that follow are a little mannered, but these fragments form a mosaic of loss that ranges from desolate sorrow to survivalist brutality.

The principal thread follows Mia as she hauls her drowned sister around the city, on her back at first, then in a wheelchair. Trading bourbon and sexual favors to buy Ana a pet dog and a sweet boyfriend — both also dead — Mia 
finds closure by giving half her life to her twin.

The young cast and mostly young audience become indistinguishable at times, which adds to the communal nature of this abstract reflection on how we process death.

Being herded around a single space doesn’t quite match the impact of wandering room to room, as in more elaborate full-immersion stagings like Punchdrunk’s “Sleep No More.”

But while this hourlong play is not as affecting as the verbatim accounts of “The Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival,” seen in last summer’s New York International Fringe Festival, its adventurous theatrical spirit yields haunting 
moments.