Microcrisis Watches the Bubble Pop
What would it take to unleash another worldwide financial catastrophe? Not much, according to microcrisis, a witty excursion through post-recession economic foolhardiness by Michael Lew. Some gullible investors, a smidgen of regulatory negligence, and a handful of venal bankers spouting indecipherable acronyms would do the trick.
Microcrisis stages a second bubble and a second calamitous pop, swapping subprime mortgages (so 2008) for another culprit: predatory lending in the developing world. Lydia (Lauren Hines), a wide-eyed NGO intern, falls into bed—literally and financially—with Bennett (Alfredo Narciso), a swaggering i-banker. Ivy League whiz-kid Randy (David Gelles) conjures a start-up linking destitute African borrowers with soon-to-be-destitute American investors—all cluelessly shoveling their savings into the abyss. Simultaneously portraying a Ghanaian entrepreneur and the New York Fed chair, William Jackson Harper plays opposites with satirical precision.
In Clint Ramos's clever set, panels lined with safety-deposit boxes fly open to flit between locations. With each scene of unprincipled chaos, we realize how un-safe financial institutions are. Ralph B. Peña's direction of this Ma-Yi Theater production propels the cast through the play quicker than toxic assets churning through a multimillion-dollar endowment.
By Michael Lew
Here Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue
Occasionally, microcrisis slumps, veering into lectures or defaulting to sentimentality. Unlike the economy it depicts, though, Lew's play recovers—making its initial public offering worth investing in.
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