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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Laberge

Forge Theater in the fast lane

"When a woman says she needs new shoes, what she really wants is a new job. When she says she needs a new house, she wants a new husband.

And when she says she wants a new car, she wants a new life."

Becky's New Car, with director Jake Brockmann, is exactly the kind of theatre that there isn't enough of. This piece is interactive and quick-witted, leaping from fourth wall breaks to rapid-fire dialogue. Underneath it runs a strong pulse; there is a deep sense of human conflict in its' core.

Step into Forge Theater, located in the Urban Harvest on 5th. This back room hardly seats four rows. Onstage is a simple office, living room, and balcony. Don't let the humble venue fool you; the chaos to ensue between those four walls is one of the most meticulously crafted performances of 2018.

Amy Hansmann plays title role Becky with striking realism. As the first scenes begin, Becky is vacuuming and picking up after her family, and it genuinely feels as if you've stepped into the Foster family home with her.

Photos by Ross Zentner. Amy Hansmann as Becky Foster.

Hansmann's matter-of-fact deliveries draw out the nonchalant poetry in Dietz's writing. She brilliantly captures the multifaceted nature of a working mother. Becky's itching restlessness burns beneath her thick-skinned exterior, grown over time as the monotony of life has pushed her along. Hansmann shines as one of Milwaukee's best.

Amy Hansmann, Joe Krapf (Walter Flood), and Pam Scheferman (Ginger).

The other characters are each foils to the erratic Becky. Her husband, Joe (Robert W.C. Kennedy) brings the dry humor to her constant whirlwind. Jason Nykiel, as Becky's son Chris, is the freeloading grad student who is so different from the workaholic protagonist. Joe Krapf's Walter Flood, idealistic lover and widower, is quirky and gentle next to Becky's self-awareness. In total, the world revolves around Becky and her observations and experiences, but without the well-rounded cast, the show would lack the punch that makes it so powerful.

Amy Hansmann and Robert W.C. Kennedy.

Becky's New Car hits the gas pedal, and never lets up on its' breakneck pace. Brockmann's direction gives audiences just long enough to dwell in the humanity of the piece, before throwing you back into the rollicking comedy. This is definitely not one to be missed - Dietz's script on the small stage is involved and experiential, and this show is nothing less than an absolute necessity. Catch it before it drives away on November 10th!

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