Martyna Majok’s IRONBOUND takes place outside of a bus stop in front of a factory in New Jersey. It is here, on this bench surrounded by chain linked fences, cement blocks, and discarded tires that Darja (Julianna Zinkel), an immigrant from Poland, feels most at home.
Over the course of 20 years, we visit key moments of Darja’s life on this bench – the announcement of her pregnancy to her first husband, Maks (Mitchell Bloom); the bruised aftermath of encounters with her second husband, the factory manager, who we never meet; the refusal to board a bus bound for Chicago with Maks; and the never ending fights with current (2014) boyfriend, Tommy (Allen Radway) over money and the women he is seeing on the side.
Occasionally, car horns blare and lights flash, indicators of an outside world Darja will never get the chance to know, partially because she has failed at negotiating profitable returns on her marriages. The same desperation – lack of meaningful relationships, car, money, and questionable housing – present in her twenties remains problematic in her forties.
This struggle, and perhaps her dream to merely survive, not thrive, offers little in way of inspiration, humor, or redemption. However, the opportunity to contemplate these self-produced, reoccurring patterns in Darja’s unfulfilled life lends itself to a larger contemplation of what it means to be human, and to survive.
Directed by Harriet Power for Simpatico Theater Project.
[The Louis Bluver Theater at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks St.] March 15–April 2, 2017; simpaticotheatre.org.