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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The X, Y, and Z on Mixed Blood's "Elemeno Pea"

The X, Y, and Z on Mixed Blood's "Elemeno Pea"

“HOLY SH**!” are the first words shouted in Elemeno Pea, setting the tone for a clearly uncouth play at Mixed Blood Theater.

The comedy, written by Molly Smith Metzler and directed by Mark Valdez, focuses on two sisters who may have grown up in the same city—Buffalo, New York—but now lead very different lives.

Rich Ryan

Simone (Grace Gealey) is a 29-year-old Yale grad who now works as the personal assistant to a wealthy trophy wife, Michaela (Laurine Price), in Martha’s Vineyard. Her older sister, Devon (Sun Mee Chomet), is a 35-year-old University at Albany-SUNY grad living in her mother’s basement who has an ex-fiancé in California. Devon visits Simone in Nantucket Sound and soon realizes that while everything may appear perfect in Michaela’s rich and lavish household, her life is really a mass of heartache, hidden lies, and dirty secrets.

Elemeno Pea is a decidedly honest depiction of the normal problems most people encounter regarding familial relationships. Gealey and Chomet have a natural chemistry on-stage, sharing the banter and protectiveness remniscient of real-life sisters, which Gealey attributes to hanging out with the cast outside of rehearsals. “Also, no one had to teach me to be a little sister. I play that part in real life,” she adds.

Although the play focuses on a number of hard-hitting issues—problems between socio-economic classes, sibling rivalry, financial problems, relationship issues—it’s performed with underlying sarcasm and vulgarity. If you can get past the myriad sexual gestures and innuendos, taboo language (“That clown is a retard!” and the awful and unprintable C-word), and neverending back-and-forth arguments (which, if I'm being honest, tested my endurance), however, you’ll benefit from some very insightful, impactful commentary on life as it is.

By the end of the play, my early assumptions that class and financial standing have inherent benefits were squashed. Instead, my takeaway from the show was: be slow to judge and quick in compassion; not everything is as black-and-white as it may seem.

Elemeno Pea
Through March 17  
First come, first serve no-cost seating; guaranteed tickets, $20
Mixed Blood Theater, 1501 S. Fourth St., Mpls.
612-338-6131, mixedblood.com

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 in Permalink

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