C*nt struck at 8 years old, Ben suffered arrested development at the sight of Sarah’s genitalia. This infantilised crush triggered a dream where Sarah sat astride his face and adorned it with her faeces.
His desire not defeated by the dominant defecation, indeed the dream is eroticised like a bowel motion bukake and heightens his obsession for Sarah. When he learns that she is affianced to a banker of his acquaintance, he plots to woo her and have her, and live happily ever after in scatological bliss.
To the Victor the spoils.
Too bad his name is Ben.
Ben wants to be a victor, but being a self centred dickhead does prove a problem. Narcissistic, neurotic Ben is the agonising protagonist of Jessie Eisenberg’s The Spoils.
He’s a snooty privileged Jewish New Yorker, film school drop out living like some kind of contemporary remittance man. He has befriended a Nepalese business student, Kalyan, and installed him as his room mate. He treats him like an exotic pet, and is disdainful of his romantic relationship with Reshma, a doctor of Indian heritage.
Ben is not happy with dramatic. It has to be compelling. Seemingly he has dropped out of film school because he cannot find any subject compelling. So he becomes a compelling bully.
Ben is a stunning, punning linguist, with a fine wit, but his stunted emotional development just makes him a fuckwit. Jessie Eisenberg’s creation is not the better angel of his nature, but in his own way, he is compelling, like a horrid car wreck.
Michael Becker channels Jessie Eisenberg in his portrayal of Ben, with motor mouth patter, snide asides, a misplaced moral superiority and arrogant intellectualism. An insolent, snivelling little solipsist. That self proclaimed mantle is gently but firmly shattered by a shimmeringly strong performance by Isabel Dickson as Sarah.
The production needs tightening to sustain its wayward wordplay and a particular running gag, but this production of The Spoils calls out the casual racism and barely concealed misogyny that exists even in the enlightened and entitled, exactly those who should know better.
Flight Path Theatre presents
by Jessie Eisenberg
Director Ian Warwick
Venue: Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville NSW
Dates: 29 Jan – 8 Feb 2020