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Theatre Review: The Golden State


Some misers hide cash under a mattress. Others keep it in a jar, buried in the back yard, or hidden in a freezer. In “The Golden State,” everyone is trying to figure out where the penny pinching Gertrude keeps her sizeable stash. Let’s just say that Gertrude keeps her treasure close to her heart, both figuratively and literally.

How cheap is this wealthy lady? She’s saving the hair that accumulates in her hairbrush, in the hope that she’ll collect enough to sell to a wig maker. And she’s so horrified by her electric bill that she decides to unscrew the lightbulbs and have the wiring pulled out of her palatial home.

Gertrude: "I might as well set my wallet on fire and burn it on the stove! But they’re not getting any more money out of me, those crooks in Sacramento.” (Laughter)

She is also stingy with her maids – undocumented women she pays less than minimum wage.

Ursula: "Yah, but why don’t you just ask her for a raise."

Blanca: (Laughter) "Ask for a raise? You want me to ask that tight fisted, tight-lipped, tight old bitch for a raise?"

Cubby: “You’d have better luck trying to suck a soccer ball through a soda straw.”

Now there is a classic associated with Christmas, involving a notorious skinflint who sees the error in his ways. This is not that play. Nobody in “The Golden State” turns over a new leaf – everyone is on the make, and willing to cheat a bit to get what they want.

This show dishes up scene after scene of raucous, jagged social satire, on topics like drug use, deportation, plastic surgery, in vitro fertilization, arranged marriage, and Russian mobsters.

The acting is exaggerated, with lots of broad ethnic accents, as the cast lampoons stereotypes. It’s a comedy of confrontation, sparing no sacred cows... not a show for the very young. But audiences who can appreciate cynical humor, along with a dark ending, will enjoy this no-holds-barred farce.

The Main Street Theatre Works production of “The Golden State” continues at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheater in Jackson, Amador County, on Fridays and Saturdays through September 6.

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