April 11th, 2014 | Culture

Recent graduates stage new play in NYC

Though their days in Yale’s undergraduate theater scene are over, four recent Yale alums have reunited in New York City to help stage a newly written play about the ‘American Dream.’

Alex Kramer ’13, Charlie Polinger ’13, Matthew George ’11 and Tom Sanchez ’12 are all part of New York-based theater Less Than Rent’s newest production, “Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man!” which runs from Apr. 3 to Apr. 27 at the Kraine Theater. Written by Less Than Rent company members James Presson and Sean Patrick Monahan, the show centers on an outlaw named Mac, who encounters many famous figures from American History while running away from those seeking to arrest him.

Monahan said the play aims to portray the ‘American Dream’ concept of making money through hard work and determination as an ambiguous goal that provides individuals with no clear path to reaching it.

“The deeper we look for an immediate solution or meaning in this swirling pop culture void, the less apparent it will become,” Monahan said. “Don’t expect to find some straightforward answer to what it’s about.”

The play follows Mac as he journeys through series of ‘hideouts’ in his attempts to evade the authorities, all while trying to follow his dream of achieving financial success in life. Monahan said that in each of his hideouts, Mac tries to find a way to earn money, but realizes that it is nearly impossible to fulfill his objective without resorting to unethical practices.

Presson noted that the play is not set in any particular time period but is rather a “mashup of cultural icons.” For example, he explained, the play’s narrator, Taylor Swift, is accompanied by 17th-18th century author Jonathan Swift who plays the piano in the show.

Sanchez, who plays Mac in the show, said he thinks that the idea of recent Yale alumni collaborating on productions in the professional world is quite common in places such as New York City, where many such alums currently live. He noted that this production is only one of several projects he has worked with other Yalies on since graduation, which have included acting in the 2013 play “Words, Razors and the Wounded Heart” with Emma Barash ’11.

Kramer, who plays former U.S. president Ronald Reagan among other characters, said that he, Polinger and George had planned to collaborate in the professional theater world before they graduated from Yale. This plan, he explained, has led to projects such as helping to produce a feature film that George is currently working on, of which Polinger is the director. Kramer added that he and the others’ decision to work on “Little Mac” came about as a result of the post-
graduation relationships he has fostered with other theater-oriented Yalies.

“These connections between us are what brought all of us to the show,” he said.

Presson described the play as “very loud and vibrant,” noting that the show features over 100 stage props and that its 13-member cast plays the roles of 86 characters. He added that while the show is not a musical, it will feature 12 songs that will all be played in under two hours. Jillian Rorrer, who plays the infamous gangster Al Capone among other characters, said the show’s fast-paced storyline can be logistically challenging for the cast, noting that actors oftentimes need to run off stage, change costumes and run back on stage all within a few minutes.

Less Than Rent Theatre was founded in 2010.