Sterling, played by Michael Kaye, exudes his power through a stare. (Nina Welch)
A play built on female oppression, dark humor, lengthy dialogues and awkward tensions, “Mauritius” manages to overcome the presumed banal outcome of a story line about stamps. Unfortunately, there were predictable elements in the plot but it was salvaged through the acting of the five person cast. What could’ve been exhausting exchanges between each character was consistently brought to life through dynamic expressions and dramatizing.
“When I heard it was going to be about stamp collecting I thought it was going to be super boring but there was actually a lot of twists and I do like when I can’t predict the end of a show,” said Jasmine Anderson, Junior at San Juan High School. “I thought the actors didn’t give it away, they really did a great job, keeping those twists for the end.”
This unexpected thriller follows the path of two half-sisters who came into an inheritance of stamps. One of the sisters, Jackie, played by Paige Vanderwarker, finds herself in a financial predicament and searches for a way to profit from the stamps. No sooner than she arrives at a stamp shop she is turned down by the shop owner Phillip played by Keivon Akbari, who couldn’t care less about a little lady with a book of stamps, but who could blame him.
As the true value of the stamps reveals itself, greed, envy and desperation start to unfold. Relationships start to become built through alliances, however other relationships are brought to ruin. Arguments are escalated to verbal fights and choke holds, until the starring piece of violence is met, when Jackie is smacked to the floor by her male oppressor, Sterling.
From the get go it seems as though the women hold all the cards. But as Mauritius helps to remind us, even though the odds may be in your favor, if you’re a female you’ll always be out of luck. However, if you are good with a quick slip of the hand, you could still manage to run away with the pot of gold and maybe even luck out on a new lover like Dennis, played by Conor Shaw as audience members are excitedly left hoping.
Jackie played by Paige Vanderwarker desperately clenches her stamps. (Courtesy of Nina Welch)
The emotions created were made possible with the strong group of well-seasoned, experienced actors.The actor who shined brightest in that limelight, Michael Kaye, played Sterling. What made this actor such a surprising star is this is the first role he’s taken in any production.
There was a lot of energy within the cast, sometimes effective, but other times overwhelming. The one character who managed to portray a character with lots of drive, energy and power but still remaining natural and real was Kaye, who conveyed a John Goodman vibe through his character.
“We try to have a lot of fun because its such a serious play, or like there’s serious moments to it that we need to have fun with it so it doesn’t just become just really morose, because I smack Jackie page,” Kaye said. “I smack her pretty hard, and it needs to lighten up from that point on. There’s a lot of violence, and so with that violence we need funny.”