City Paper is not for tourists
Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre
Remaining Performances (tickets available here):
Saturday, July 18 at 6:05 p.m. Sunday, July 19 at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25 at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at 4:00 p.m.
They Say: Ron Litman’s DC Trash – smash hit of the 2012 Fringe Festival – is back! The crusty native Washingtonian’s edgy commentary on DC then and now as seen from the inside of trash truck is updated with new observations and new original music.
Amrita’s Take: Local trash collector Litman’s 2015 reboot of his hit one-man musical DC Trash is true to its name. It repurposes some of Litman’s poignant and hysterical observations on consumerism, gentrification and waste from the 2012 original and melds it together with brand-new musical numbers and fresh stories that takes into account how our city has changed in three short years. The end result is masterful; Recycled!! won’t feel like old hat for those saw the original, and won’t feel like unfamiliar territory for a new audience.
Recycled!! begins with Litman playing a familiar character from the original, the homeless “Mayor of Massachussetts Avenue.” Describing himself as an “schizophrenic, alcoholic, junkie slob” in an upbeat, satirical song, the Mayor introduces the topic of race and class disparities in the District. It’s a theme that sustains through the rest of the 70-minute set. For most of the show, however, Ron Litman plays himself. He occasionally breaks character to impersonate a former African-American boss, his Jewish parents, or the former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.
In a style that is never pedantic or overwrought, Recycled!!—part oral history, part D.C. geography lesson, and part biomusical—covers several decades of D.C. history and offers a primer of local waste management practices. If you’ve never thought twice about where your trash ends up or about the people responsible for collecting it, you will now. Litman shares all the gory details from his work as a trash collector, much of which is unsettling. Disturbances range from nitpicky (chicken wings in the recycling bin) to the stuff of nightmares (dead bodies found in trash receptacles). There are, of course, endless piles of Amazon Prime boxes.
Litman’s ability to make us laugh, cry, and think in one performance is delightful. The material he covers ranges from dark to poignant to heartwarming, but the lively pace of the show ensures that no one thing ever becomes too much. We are educated, and then we are entertained. We learn something unsettling about the Chocolate City’s past, and then we learn something that reminds us why some of us moved to the nation’s capital in the first place.
See it if: You’re a native Washingtonian or you’re new to D.C.
Skip it if: Recycling jokes deeply offend you.