Playwright Naomi Itsuka.


Polaroid Stories

By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Laura Early

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2015 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

Punk kids, junkies, hookers, low lifes…Polaroid Stories paints a picture of the under belly of inner city realities. Stories of hope and fear stripped directly from actual interviews, this play tells tales of passion and intoxication in a haze of smoke and excitement. Originally a part of the Humana New Play festival at Actors Theater, University of Louisville has put together a fearless production.

Actors traipse the set as audience members trickle into the Thrust Theatre and remain visible in some capacity until final curtain; a brilliant device in this regard considering the stories shared are filled with honest intimacy. Kudos to Kevin Gawley’s light and set design. Functional and urban, the stage is transformed into an urban wasteland serving as a backdrop for the desperation displayed upon it. Gawley’s lighting designs are nearly animated through moments of drug induced bliss and impoverished sorrow.

Each actor handles the raw intensity of the true stories with pure emotion. As D, the flamboyantly trendy new wave kid, Ross Shenker packs a punch with his “Dirty old Man” speech, matched by power in actions with his drug possession up against Casey Moulton’s Skinhead Boy. Moulton and Kelsey Griffin’s Skinhead Girl are hopeless dreamers sucked into addiction. Moulton delivers a particularly moving, “Oklahoma Boy”, speech while Griffin’s “Princess dream” monologue is hopeful and optimistic in the midst of a near-miss overdose. Andrew Katzman and Danielle Smart show strength as they verbally play with language as Narcissus and Echo, respectfully. Paula Lockhart shows an alpha prowess like that of a Greek goddess as Persephone/Semele. Mia Rocchio seeks thrills in her portrayal of Eurydice, offering a sexual energy that is equal parts youthfully charming yet tragic in its reservation. Lois Abdelmalek is, indeed, an urban nightingale as Philomel as she innocently sings pop songs and other ballads throughout the chaotic destruction.

The chorus (Precious Burton, Miranda Cisneros, Denzel Earkman, Aaron Hoback, Alex Haydon and Daniel Wine) of this production deserves praise as well. The six members bring an extra kick that illuminates and emphasizes the action on stage. Energetic and earnest, these actors as well as the principle players create a landscape that blends tragedy and hope for a full picture that reflects any story whether it be urban or otherwise.

Polaroid Stories

Wednesday October 21, 8pm
Thursday October 22, 8pm
Friday October 23, 8pm
Sunday October 25, 3pm
Sunday October 25, 8pm
Monday October 26, 8pm

University of Louisville Dept of Theater Arts
Thrust Theater
2314 South Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40292


Kate BarryKate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for Leo Weekly and as well. Thanks for reading!