A couple of friends of mine–Daniel and Simone–are putting on a production, The Man With The Plastic Sandwich, a play originally written by Playwright Roger Karshner. They reserved Mike, Radhika and myself a ticket to see their show which was very kind.
We went to see it at the Heritage Playhouse Wednesday night and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The acting was good and the story engaging.
The play is about white-collar worker, Walter who was laid off and has been unemployed for six months. White collar is the best description for Walter because he is an engineer. Understandably, he is down and out about having no work. However, he is very blessed. His wife has willingly taken over the role as provider by accepting a job that pays her a decent salary. And, his brother-in-law is very gracious, offering money upfront to help them through this tough time. Well, tough times have not fallen on Walter because his brother-in-law is quite wealthy himself. Unfortunatley, Walter cannot see his blessings through his pride. He sits on a bench in the park every day, nibbling away at a sandwich while he swallows in self-pity.
Until three people force him to self examine himself.
Enter Ellie, a young, carefree woman. She’s a little obsessed with sex to put it lightly, but she is one cheery woman. She tries to lighten Walter’s mood with her upbeat attitude. She gives him a shoulder massage and–invites him to have sex with her. Of course, he declines, but nonetheless he is intrigued by her in his own stiff way. When he tells her about his wife–the lady he had been married to for twenty years–she tells him how lucky he is to have a woman who is so loving and so loyal as she must be.
Next comes Haley, a rather distinguished hobo. Haley takes the half-eaten sandwhich from Walter and eats it. Walter soon finds out that Haley was once a celebrity entrepreneur who ran a multi-million dollar advertising business. While he was making money hand over fist, his marriage deteriorated and the stress of having to be successful mounted. Until he couldn’t handle it anymore. He walked away from it all.
To Haley, money dictated his actions, his life. But now, he is not bound by the chains of it’s control. He may have given up everything he had, but he is finally content, at peace with himself. This is the message he gives to Walter.
Last, comes Lenore, a prostitute. Walter finds out that she does not come from a rough background. In fact, her upbringing was quite solid. She had two loving parents who paid for her way to college. Lenore trained to become a teacher, but somewhere down the road, she lost her way. She didn’t like being paid such a small wage, so she moved to LA and decided to sell her body in exhange for a good wage. And, she actually enjoys being a prostitute. Well, she says she does until she hears Walter’s story. In honesty, she would give anything to have what Walter has. So, when he starts ranting about how useless he feels because he’s not making any money, he doesn’t want financial help from his wife or his brother-in-law because he’s supposed to be the breadwinner, Lenore lays into him.
Her words weave their way into Walter’s impenetrable brain, forcing him to take a good hard look at himself and the situation around him. He finally sees the light.
The Man With The Plastic Sandwhich was delightful, but so true to life. Below the lightheartedness was a solemn message that everyone can learn from.
If you live on the Sunshine Coast, I encourage to to see The Man With The Plastic Sandwich. It is held at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons, but it ends on Saturday night.