Written and Performed by Kate Robards; Directed by Christopher Murray
Part of the 2017 FRIGID New York Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 3.4.17
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place
by Keith Paul Medelis on 2.16.17
Kate Robards in Ain't That Rich. Photo by Joshua Owen.
BOTTOM LINE: Kate Robards offers an honest, endearing look at money, family, and privilege in her solo show Ain't That Rich.
I didn't want to, but at the passing name drop of the notorious DJT about a quarter of the way through Kate Robards' monologue, it was difficult to not see her play through the lens of a white, Southern woman seeking to understand her place in a changing world. Maybe it's time to put away the Times and learn to understand that the world doesn't revolve around our orange-faced Clown-in-Chief, or perhaps it's a rather timely, even controversial moment to explore the meaning of financial security amongst white people, particularly ones with humble roots like Robards (I assume this is her autobiography).
There's not much to expect from Robards at the start, as she proudly declares "I am rich!" in the dingy basement of UNDER St. Marks. I have just come from a dinner of boxed mac and cheese, stealing wine from a reception I had been crashing. I'm not interested in a show about rich people problems. However, Robards offers some rather compelling material on her time growing up poor and marrying into a rich family. There's a humorous account of a nameless Chase executive asking for her "portfolio" shortly after getting on the coveted joint back account. She offers paintings.
Robards' focus of the piece becomes, appropriately, not her ability to buy handbags, but in how she understands her family as they look for help. I breath a sigh of relief, compelled by what I hesitate to call a struggle but will anyway (and ask an apology.) It's also worth noting that her performance, guided by director Christopher Murray, is endearing; it's a rollercoaster of emotion with a Goldilocks balance of comedy and drama. And Robards shines when she really takes her time to place the audience with her, allowing us in in a beautiful way. Go. And don't feel bad about drinking that PBR from the bar.
(Ain't That Rich plays at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, through March 4, 2017. The running time is one hour. Performances are Wed 2/15 at 10:30, Sat 2/18 at 8:50, Mon 2/20 at 10:30, Sat 2/25 at 12:30, and Sat 3/4 at 3:50. Tickets are $8, $20 if you're rich, and are available at FRIGIDNewYork.info.)
Ain't That Rich is written and performed by Kate Robards. Directed by Christopher Murray. David Ford is credited as the Developer.