Eight Hundred Dollar Value
theSpace @ Symposium Hall – Main Theatre
‘Eight Hundred Dollar Value’, 2021 Edinburgh fringe. I thought this play would be something of an American Wild West show from the title; it was American but told of the Mafia who aren’t cowboys; but perpetrate weapons and violence in very similar ways. The hard work part of this play had its own rewards. It was a monologue that told a story of a young man who was held in the throes of this life since before he could remember.
As we were let into the open door to the excellent Lecture theatre there was a man sitting at the corner of the stage with a mean look in his eyes. He stood and took us straight into his story. He took a moment then in his grey wise guy suit began his torrid and legendary story, speaking in a thick New York accent.
Donnie would have twists and turns unravel as though he had lived many lives. His commitment to the story was 10 fold taking us through the many details of things unfolding for him and his Mafioso existence. Many things came to transpire, each giving something to the structure of the plot.
He revealed that he had been in witness protection for his entire life, that he socialised with the FBI, committed or was party to murder and other such level crimes and lived a life that for many of us could not even be imagined.
His dialogue trickled into us as we unaware took in the story and all of its parts. The performance had a sort of truth to it, a kind of unreal quality that we didn’t figure before some reflection. All with a story told in that New York gangster twangs and Mafioso promises.
It was set up with only a music stand that he took his notes from. Reading from them he set up several certain compliments important to survival in this world of crime. They all made sense and came together as facts for living in and attaining a peaceful life, even as you sign some poor fool’s death warrant.
Was he as coerced as his story’s seemed? Had he lived through so much as to desensitize his own feelings? He seemed to stand there at peace going through everything, smiling and with a child like wonder.
We were shown a world and taken into his whole life. Sitting there listening to the colloquial highs and lows as steady as his appearance itself. A story he needed to tell for a well earned place at the fringe. It was so simple, so efficiently effective; we were welcomed to the family with a warning. The same warning he had early on to catch fire later.