“We are all scared as shit.“ So proclaims man-boy Luke in Elizabeth Hagerty’s delightfully weird little play Nephrectomy. A study of the “quarter life crisis” that so plagues the millennial generation, Nephrectomy is as zeitgeisty as a New York Times trend piece, only, thankfully, much funnier.
In the mall where they languish away their twenties, Honor (Michelle Norris) and Mattie (Lauren Padgett) while away their hours complaining, mostly about the men in their lives. Mattie has been wronged by the perpetually douchey never-seen Robby, while Honor pines in silence for their Star Wars obsessed coworker Luke (Josh Heard).
When Maddie manipulates Honor into revealing her love for Luke, however, things spin out of a control in a myriad of delightfully unexpected ways.
Hagerty’s brain goes in directions mine never would, and thank god for it. The twists of the plot keep the audience guessing all the way through, while the strength of the writing makes even the most ridiculous plot points believable.
Thankfully, the acting in the production is just as strong as the writing. Both Padgett and Heard are excellent, but the real standout of the production is Norris’ stunning turn as the surprisingly complex Honor. From her shy, fluttering beginning to her self proclaimed “empowered woman” end, she is heartfelt and believable.
by Elizabeth Hagerty
1021 7th Street NW 3rd Floor
Washington, DC, 20001
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Her complete love for Luke brought me back to my anxious high school crush days, my heart breaking as she explains earnestly to Luke that love means “Instead of worrying about the shape of my wrists and my cereal, I think about the shape of your wrists and your cereal”. And when her character turns darker, the shift is organic and natural.
There is a cliché oft quoted by artists: “art is a lie that tells the truth.” Well, it’s not always true, but in this case the aphorism applies. Through her heightened, occasionally surreal world, Hagerty shows the audience the fear of a generation coming to terms with themselves.
We are, indeed, all scared as shit, but if we use our fear to write plays like this, maybe that’s a good thing.