Capital Fringe Review: ‘In This Economy’ by Jessica Vaughan

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If you have ever known or happen to be either a 20-something searching for a job in DC or employed in a perpetual entry-level position, In this Economy will be both funny and severely painful. It is the story of James (TD Smith), who is not working at the moment and his romance with Emily (Anna Jackson) as he attempts to look for a job. The supporting cast form a kaleidoscope of friends, parents, and roommates that must deal with or ignore James’ jobless state.

Emily (Anna Jackson) and James (TD Smith).

The writer, producer, and director, John Krizel is a local and if you do not have any experience of DC, it is a pity, because you will miss a number of hilarious “only in DC” moments, like the endless associations he’s applying to from Idealist. This is truly a play of the current generation, as the soundtrack, laptops, and Smartphones are all an integral part of the action.

A PowerPoint presentation provides extracts from job announcements as a hilarious counterpoint to the action onstage. “Good at handling awkward situations?” Try the Republican, Cubs-fan father of your girlfriend. It also displays the Gchat of the characters as they speak. The chat with a friend does not always match what you tell your new girlfriend. Gchat, for ye who do not know, is when you chat in real time on your computer or phone with anyone in your network… Oh never mind.

You’ll laugh.

It’s aptly named In This Economy, because I suspect at another time, it would get annoying to see James sink further into apathy in the face of his continuing unemployment, but most recognize that experience these days– to not be interested in anything even as you panic. TD Smith does a brilliant job of keeping James likeable during his descent and the ending somehow fits perfectly. As I mentioned, if you are or rub elbows with any kind of young professional in the District, you simply have to go. Just be prepared to wince when it hits way too close to home.

If you’re less familiar with this huge DC subculture and are curious about what America’s youth are doing with their lives…this is it.

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