“Two Men and a Woman in a House” is the Offbeat Satire We All Needed
ziz immelman, A&C editor
Augsburg Theater Department’s production of “Two Men and a Woman in a House,” written by alum Ava Fojtik, premiered on the theatre department’s YouTube channel on March 7, 2021.
This satirical whodunit centers around a 1950’s American family. When best friends Billy and Stewart, played by Sarah Burke and Brendan Tetter, notice that a pie has vanished from their windowsill, the men team up to look for the thief. As the mystery unfolds, the audience is left puzzled by the repetition of the color red and other communist imagery. It begins to appear that more than a pie is at stake for this proud American family. I will refrain from giving out any spoilers, but I can say with certainty that it all comes together nicely in the finale.
While “Two Men and a Woman in a House” feels at times like a bizarre, unpredictable pro-communist hallucination, the comedy has its serious moments, exploring what it meant to be an American man in the 1950s- and what it means to be a human today. Fojtik did an outstanding job of writing the characters. The use of ironic, tongue-in-cheek misogyny and over-the-top sexualization of Suzy lands perfectly, caricatures of how men in Billy and Stewart’s position often acted and spoke in the 1950s, as well as how women are still treated today. Their misogynistic language is juxtaposed with what I interpretted as a gay love story. What starts out as subtle homoerotic undertones quickly blossoms into full-on romantic tension that had me waiting to see if they would end up together. As the satirical sexist language continued, it felt like the two men were compensating for being closeted with toxic masculinity. All aspects about this play tied together nicely, and I can tell there was copious attention to detail from everyone involved in the production.
I was afraid that the COVID-19-related restrictions would ruin the experience, but I found my concerns to be unfounded. While I was disappointed that I could not see the play in person, the experience of watching the recorded play was still exciting and engaging. I began to not even notice the face masks or social distancing, and I didn’t get bored due to the movie-like editing from director of photography and editor, Evan Sanden. Sanden tells The Echo, “From the humorous interplay of the irrational characters to the intricacies of the set and costume design, working on ‘Two Men and a Woman in a House’ was an enlightening experience, albeit challenging given the circumstances. It was a joy to work with the cast and crew to make art in a communal setting.”
If you have an hour of down time any time soon, I highly recommend you head on over to the Augsburg theatre department YouTube channel and give the play a watch. Without giving away any spoilers, you are in for an absolutely wild ride.