SHOW: Pay Up
GROUP: Pig Iron Theatre Company with The University of the Arts
ATTENDED: Sat., Sept. 7, 9 pm
CLOSES: Sept. 22
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: “In Pay Up, you are buying, you are choosing, you are getting cheated, you are winning the game. These kinds of emotions turn out to be much more potent than any fiction I can concoct.” —Dan Rothenberg, director of Pay Up
WE THINK: Pig Iron folks don’t want us to know too much about how their 2005 hit works beforehand, so I am reluctant to explain the process. Suffice to say there is a process: Be ready to move from place to place and pay attention to rules and procedures. It’s all designed to allow instincts to take over, all involving the question what will you buy, and why?
I can safely report as well that Pay Up is a hugely impressive logistic undertaking, with over 30 actors and a vast “artificially controlled environment” that looks and feels like a futuristic lab experiment — in which we are the lab rats.
The voice guiding us through the 65-minute experience says, “You could have been somewhere else. You could have spent your money in a different way.” But you won’t want to be somewhere else, and you’ll consider your money well spent — though you might also think more about how and why you spend. As soon as I hit the sidewalk, I was eagerly expressing my desire to see Pay Up again; part of Pay Up’s peculiar charm is that you can’t experience it all in one go, which is partly the point. Choices must be made, and every choice represents a lost opportunity: “Life is full of regret,” that voice tells us.
But you won’t regret seeing Pay Up. You can take that to the bank.
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