What’s the difference between a janitor and a custodian? It’s all about a sense of responsibility for what you care for. The Custodian is a story about trying to find one’s way in the world, the complexities of love, and one normal man’s struggle to learn how to fight back against the messy carelessness of superheroes creating a codependent relationship with the regular citizens of New York by saying they need to save the world from disaster and then making the people trapped under the rubble of their battles beg to be rescued.
The Custodian (written and directed by Will Lacker) opens upon a messy apartment where a man is avidly playing a video game. All of sudden another man (played by Kevin Alan) in a bright yellow getup comes out of the shadows. Is this our first look at a superhero in this play? We quickly find out he is announcing another tussle between super hero and super villain … and the effect it is having on traffic (this announcer’s specialty). Kevin returns time and time again as the voice of the world outside the apartment whether as announcer or as a trivia savant who gives the other characters special bits of information to help them understand more arcane facts that they (or the audience) need to know.
Kevin does a great job of conveying the excitement and investment the world seems to have in the exploits of superheroes. He also gives the underlying fear of collateral damage that is unsaid but sometimes seen in his face. Sound and lighting is done expertly by Matt Wharton who brings us deeply resonate thuds, thumps and crashes of the scary world outside the apartment which is never seen.
The clever costumes by Sara Lukasiewicz and Laurel Casillo (who plays Wanda) illustrate flamboyancy of the world outside in the glimpses we get.
In this story what our hero, Max (played by Eryck Tate), cares for is nothing less than New York City, and he isn’t used to having such large passionate feelings, so his transformation from a normal everyman to The Custodian is a tough one. He has an eccentric roommate Remi (played by Nick Hepsoe), who has obsessions with trivia, Gina Davis and a “commitment” to video games, as well as a trust fund to support his habits.
His girlfriend Wanda (played by Laurel Casillo) is always being supportive and her father gets Max an interview which seems like it might be far up on the ladder of success (“data entry” – an exciting possibility to Max), but the job is of custodian. He is sent home with a mop to work on his mopping skills.
Later Max wakes up to his “day off” and an urgent call from his supervisor Manuello that he’s “needed urgently” to help sweep up the four floors of smashed glass caused by a superhero. Only you can save us!
Added to the mix is a story of an old yet mysterious friend of Remi’s named Fing (played by Adam Delia), a wild-man guerilla fighter just out of Uganda who will be staying with them for an “indefinite” period of time. Wanda is at first repulsed by Fing, but soon a chemistry beginning to develop.
With disaster threatening to take down the city, and Wanda’s life in peril, what can they do to stop the careless rampaging of superheroes? Then the answer comes in a flash (a muddled confused and almost incoherent flash) of mental agility.
Kidnap a superheroes sidekick!
It seems wrong and yet so right. A plan is made and we see the wheels of transformation happen to all in this gang of would-be crusaders.
See the show while you can for a great mix of laughs, ethical dilemmas, and great chemistry both between and within the characters as they all change into something closer to their true selves as we see the birth of The Custodian!
Five Flights Theater Company
Writer: Will Lacker
Director: Will Lacker