Disposable Necessities Review – Is Change Inevitable?

Darrett Sanders and Billy Flynn in DISPOSABLE NECESSITIES - Photo by John Perrin Flynn

If you’ve ever thought about seeing the world through novel and different eyes, then DISPOSABLE NECESSITIES is for you. Skillfully crafted by playwright Neil McGowan, DISPOSABLE NECESSITIES takes us into a future where just about anything is possible – providing, of course, than you can afford it. Tired of being a man – or a woman, for that matter? Wondering what it would be like to be another race? What if chronic illness was a thing of the past? Can you conceive of living forever? Cleverly directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, DISPOSABLE NECESSITIES probes all of these questions – and more – while keeping us chuckling.

Darrett Sanders, Ann Noble, Billy Flynn, and Jefferson Reid – Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Life is losing some of its glow for Daniel Totten (Darrett Sanders), and that’s saying something for a man who’s lived more than one iteration. For, in this future, it has become possible to download the digitized soul into another host body – over and over again. Of course, the family has taken on some intriguing changes since Daniel’s wife Alice (Billy Flynn) decided to download into a male body. But, of course, love conquers all – or does it? His son Chadwick (Jefferson Reid) is now hip-hopping in an African-American “module,” and his best friend Phillip Fain (Claire Blackwelder) is trying something new as a kittenish sensual female. When Daniel’s impossibly old-fashioned daughter Dee (Ann Noble) shows up with the news that she’s dying – and refuses to download – things are sure to take a quick left turn.

Darrett Sanders, Billy Flynn, and Claire Blackwelder – Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Brilliantly melding over-the-top humor and the darkest of comedy with some very serious undertones, McGowan’s tale is hugely entertaining – but also highly thought-provoking. Is this a future we want – or need? The question it asks – suppose you can have anything you want…forever – may not have a clear answer. Between laughing at a hilarious set of circumstances, the audience is subtly asked to take a peek at greed, the value of life, and the meaning of death.

Jefferson Reid and Ann Noble – Photo by John Perrin Flynn

David Mauer’s scenic design manages to project both future and past, with Christopher Moscatiello’s sound and Matt Richter’s lighting adding the right spark. The entire production team does a creditable job of creating a “Brave New World” for its characters. But make no mistake: it is the cunning introduction of this fascinating new world which keeps the audience focused. For better or worse, it doesn’t take too much imagination to see that our twenty-first century digital age could easily go in author McGowan’s direction. Science fiction buffs will love this comic tale – but it will also appeal to people who love to uncover layers of meaning – and who want to be entertained while doing it.

Darrett Sanders, Jefferson Reid, and Billy Flynn – Photo by John Perrin Flynn

DISPOSABLE NECESSITIES runs through February 3, 2020 with performances in 2019 at 3 p.m. on Sunday 12/15, at 8 p.m. on Monday 12/16, at 7 p.m. on Sunday 12/29, and 8 p.m. on Monday 12/30 (no performances on 12/20 to 12/28).  Performances in 2020 are at 8 p.m. on Saturday 1/4, at 7 p.m. on Sunday 1/5, at 8 p.m. on Monday 1/6, with performances continuing at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, at 7 p.m. on Sundays, and at 8 p.m. on Mondays (no performance on Monday 1/13). The Rogue Machine performs at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA 90291. Tickets are $40 (students $25). For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online.

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