Snarky, callow, occasionally brilliant, and frequently moronic, Kevin Doyle’s one-act takes as its subject a ritual for countless New Yorkers—reading the Sunday Times over bagels and coffee—and wrings it for all the anti-establishment satire it’s worth, and then some. In an uptown apartment, yuppie highflier Chris and girlfriend Jessica peruse the paper while engaging in vapid chitchat (the latest Bloomie’s sale, those pesky third-worlders). Since it’s also moving day, a pair of buff movers treats the couple to an inventory of their belongings, symbolized by piles of the titular packing material.
A hit at this year’s Stampede Festival, Styrofoam mounts a vicious parody of our consumer culture, but like its central metaphor, it’s mostly air. Doyle apes both Ionesco and Michael Moore, the result being a tonal whirlwind of an-gry, self-righteous absurdity. Luckily the actors provide some grounding: As the loathsome UES power couple, Keri Meoni and Dan Roach assume their whipping-post duties with gusto, though even they can’t conceal the simplemindedness of the capitalist critique (People are shallow! People are greedy!). More disconcerting is Doyle’s failure to explore his play’s inherent eco-unfriendliness. Has a left-wing diatribe ever emitted so many chlorofluorocarbons? Sadly, the only lasting impact Styrofoam will have is on the ozone layer.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 3, 2004