“Trash…can take on all kinds of forms,” observes Refuse Expert Ron Litman in his one-man show DC Trash – Recycled!! Of all the forms rubbish can take, though, DC Trash – Recycled!! definitely isn’t one of them.
DC Trash – Recycled!! is the return of Litman’s 2012 Fringe hit DC Trash, “updated with new observations and new original music,” (according to the 2015 Fringe guide.) The show is a backstage tour of DC from the back of a trash-truck with Litman as your gritty guide. He digs through his memories and uncovers things about Washington that some might wish would go to the landfill. Along the way, Litman provides some darkly comic commentary and some funky and (mostly) fresh tunes with the help of composer and one-man-band Tom Pile.
Litman is an engaging narrator, and remembers his route well. During his trip through the congested streets of the nation’s capital, Litman introduces us to a variety of characters whose costumes he sometimes rescues from a large pile of garbage (what else?) center stage. The characters are diverse, from a bum known only as “The King of Massachusetts Avenue,” to his garbage-man mentor James, to his feuding Jewish parents, and many more. Litman rarely caricaturizes, though, and his memories of these people resonate in his own gruff, honest voice.
DC Trash – Recycled!
Written, directed and performed by Ron Litman
Music by Tom Pile
Lyrice by Ron Litman
Details and tickets
This honesty is crucial, for through these characters Litman ponders some tough topics that might otherwise turn off politically-saturated Washingtonians. To his credit, his performance never feels didactic and at its heart asks questions about (among other things) race relations, gentrification, and (of course) local history. If there are problematic moments, Litman has attempted to anchor them in real characters and memories that often remind us this city can be just that – problematic.
In reliving these perhaps not-so-fresh memories, Litman asks us implicitly what to do with them. Should we throw them away? If we do, how do we get rid of their smell? What if there was some way to dig through them, and recycle a part of their remains? Though the script may ramble a bit, it only does so in an effort to reiterate some of Litman’s more pressing thoughts.
That being said, DC Trash – Recycled!! is never unendurably heavy. Litman has an acerbic wit and a lively presence. That, coupled with an upbeat soundtrack, means you don’t want to throw out DC Trash – Recycled!! from your Fringe schedule this year.