Theater Info for the Washington DC region

1st Stage Pig Farm

By • Feb 24th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Pig Farm
1st Stage
1st Stage, Tysons Corner, VA
$15 – $25
Playing through March 8th
Reviewed February 21, 2009

Pig Farm…is the funniest, quirkiest, ickiest play you’ve never seen. 1st Stage has scored its third hit in a row with this raucous black comedy about pig farmers along the Potomac.

Together, Tom and Tina employ Tim, and Teddy’s from the EPA. The T name game sounds silly, but it’s actually an effective stylistic move by playwright Greg Kotis.

Working a pig farm isn’t easy, and the long hours, bacon filled monotony, and, well, the fecal sludge, have taken their toll on Tom & Tina’s marriage. Tim, the studly juvenile delinquent who “helps” Tom out has caught the eye of a lonely Tina. None of this comes at an opportune time for the farm, currently under EPA investigation. Tom hates the federal government almost as much as Tina wants a baby. Tim wants out of that pig farm almost as much as Teddy wants in. All of these desires eventually come to a head in a memorable climax.

It’s unbelievable that a few repetitive speech patterns, comical lovemaking, and seemingly low brow humor comes together the way that it does, but it does…and it’s a nonstop laugh fest. In fact, more than a few people were wiping away tears at alternate points in the show.

Lucas Beck as Teddy the EPA man is incredible. This actor has garnered rave reviews from every source during his brief time at 1st Stage, and they’re all warranted. He personifies each role, giving a different voice, look, pose to make it work. It’s extremely effective, and hysterically funny. No doubt that he is headed for big things, and 1st Stage is a wonderful place for him to be.

Tucker Sparkman as Tom and Charley Mann as Tim add layer upon layer of hickish hilarity to the mix. And Belen Pifel as the careworn Tina is an absolute treat. She possesses great expression and sultry moves combined with a total lack of inhibition.

The cast worked beautifully together, full of soaring energy, essential timing, and artful line delivery. The show as a whole didn’t really feel like a theatrical play. It more closely resembled a few film genres…think Beverly Hillbillies meets Pulp Fiction.

The straightforward farmhouse set (by director Mark Krikstan) actually has some neat dimension to it, and the space is used effectively.

The fight choreography (Anthony C. E. Nelson) was impeccably done and realistic. Sound and light design (Peter Van Valkenburgh) was also flawless.

The costumers (Andre Hopfer & Cheryl Wu) have dressed the cast well…in fact, there’s never been a better use of Daisy Dukes and sheer nylon than in this show.

Huge kudos to the running crew (including but surely not limited to Olivia Ellis, Kelsey Hill, and Kate Karcewski), who have an unfathomable mess on their hands after each show. Stage Manager Laurie Friedman keeps everything shipshape backstage between costume changes, entrances, and Pig Farm‘s own brand of special effects. They are the often faceless people who make the show work…hats off to them!

Mark Krikstan obviously knows how to cast a show with talent, and then use that talent to the best of their abilities. The pacing was perfect; each scene was an intriguing vignette leaving the audience wanting more, and the production came together on all levels.

Last but not least, the rendering of Old Bess atop the farmhouse is amazing. Bob Krause, you rock.

The sold out house had an eclectic mix of high school students, middle aged society matrons, and everything in between. They all had a common denominator…pure delight in this play. It felt good to laugh and laugh they did…all throughout the play and surely en route home, remembering the outrageousness of it all, and savoring each bloody, funny bit.

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