The Sickness is a metaphor coming alive on stage!


By Tsipi Inberg Ben-Haim

“You’re not going to have an enjoyable time” Announced the voice in the dark prior to revealing a very undressed stage.

A portable old fashioned graffitied bathtub in the middle of a messy Grey floor. On the other side a toilet ball with its cover thrown on the floor nearby.

As the backdrop, a dirty yellowing plastic curtain, hanging from the ceiling to the floor. A small cut in the plastic, like a window opening, reveals ahead of carelessly laughing man…

As we’re trying to get used to this artful but pitiful environment on stage, we notice a man lying on the floor trembling with fever? Or maybe as a result of drug abuse? He’s covered with an old falling apart blanket that soon enough falls off his dirty looking face, painfully staring eyes as he’s mumbling something and crawling on the floor in his white underwear and a white undershirt.

In no time we see another person enter the stage, a young woman. As she undresses to her underwear she too makes us see the unstable state of mind she’s in.

Her story of rape and being mistreated by the police as they arrested her and the dealer, for drugs, is enough to get the audience to feel the pain and understand the heavy problem they both are in. The music adding gently to this fragile situation helping to imagine what’s about to happen.

Yet, no one in the audience moves. No one leaves. in spite of the fact that we know the depression on stage will start rubbing off on all of us.

There is something mesmerizing in these two painful, powerless, young,  yet intelligent and knowledgeable characters on stage. Wasting their lives on shooting heroin. Thinking about stopping and starting again… but can’t get out of this vicious cycle. They give it there all and making you believe they’re indeed the heroin addicts. The symptoms of what is going on all around us. The actors; Mia Vallet, Ryan Cupello and Mark Lobene playing artists in the early days of the Lower east side and SoHo artistic life, are giving an unforgettable performance; and will continue to do so through February 29th. at the Access Theater, downtown New York City.

The Polish-born writer & director of this play -Emil Varda, was inspired by his mentor Glenn O’Brien.

In Mr. Varda’s own words “My hope is that the play will show something of the pauperization of our society, it’s degradation and Sickness.