by Ed Malin · August 20, 2015
Christina Toth, Mazin Akar | Dixie Sheridan
Land of Broken Toys is a gripping play written and directed by Yasmine Lever, with original music by Or Matias.
We are watching a special event where the host, Doctor Intimacy (Bryan Hamilton) matches up people and guides them to share their secrets. Luke (Mazin Akar) is an intense, macho but expressive guy who is captivated by Amber (Christina Toth). Amber boldly confronts Luke’s fearless true confessions, such as “I’m told my [ejaculate] tastes very sweet”. She is prone to have no filter in a charming way. They find the ice has been broken when she says “I think people who have real careers are @ssholes.” They are enjoying their chat so much that they find a way to match up again for the next round instead of moving on to new partners.
We also see Barnaby (Sky Lakota Lynch) become involved with Kenna (Sydney Farley) and flashback scenes between Luke and his ex-wife, Mimi (Gabby Perez). Some people are truly not compatible, and hurt each other as much by withholding as by sharing their feelings. Others may be more open to new connections than their status as being “in recovery” would suggest. We learn how Amber has been on her own since her teens, has been through many cycles of destructive behavior, and almost believes that staying home at night is better not just for herself but for the rest of the world. Powerful emotions are laid bare, and Luke and Amber, both high school dropouts, find patience, trust and understanding together. It’s complicated, though. Amber’s teenage son, Chris (Bryan Hamilton) brings news of the family that Amber left behind. It is very dark indeed, yet, since the rest of the cast are always on stage witnessing the action, it feels open and cathartic. Barnaby may choose Kenna over his current lover (who is already part of the story), giving hope for a healthy future.
This remarkable show has posted photos of the performers wearing masks. As the plot unfolds, the characters could not be more exposed. One can sympathize with the difficulties not of their making that the characters have had to endure. The writing is superb, the dialogue frank and the movement very alluring. Congratulations to Yasmine Lever for envisioning and crafting this world. It was obvious that the amazing cast was exhausted after going through the emotional range of this play. Bring someone who’s not an @sshole, and talk about how you feel afterwards.