By Anita Singh
ATP’s For Love and Money contains neither love nor money. Instead, the playRites 2002 piece is completely riddled with cliché.
For Love and Money follows Howard, a rich oil tycoon, and his wife Janie as they strike it rich and then watch their family fall apart. Unsurprisingly, Howard becomes abusive due to his and Janie’s alcoholism, has an affair with another woman and is consumed by his "love for money." The story focuses on Janie’s self-discovery and her reaction to 30 years of suffering mental, emotional and physical abuse.
The play did excel in certain areas. Lighting during the flashback scenes was amazingly effective. Janie and Howard share the stage with their past selves while still in their proper time frames. Well thought out, costumes and set reflect Janie and Howard’s social position. In addition, the older characters complement their younger counterparts-between the young and old Howard the resemblances between the two are uncanny.
Unfortunately, this is where the positives end. The characters were extremely two-dimensional, unable to capture the audience’s imagination or sympathy. Between the couples, the dialogue was redundant. Janie begs Howard to come back, only for him to remind her of the futility of the relationship by promptly marching off stage-and this happens over and over again.
Scenes between the young couple were riveting when Howard beats Janie, but again, even the repetition of violence makes audiences very sleepy. The only apparent climax happens before intermission, making the second half a very lengthy denouement. Even the final confrontation between husband and wife was slow and without any flavour. Janie’s self-enlightenment plays like a small ripple compared to the tidal wave build-up of her expected bout of self-realization.
For Love and Money was an idea with a potential that just didn’t pan out. There just wasn’t much to love-no stretch of the imagination or emotion. Instead, it leaves the audience asking what the point was. For Love and Money is a been-there-done-that taste of mediocrity, and can easily be missed.