Review: “Consumption” with Mason Holdings Theatre Company

Tracy Weller and Devin Burnam star in Mason Holding's production of "Consumption." The immersive site-specific play takes place in several rooms of the historic Beverly Social Club in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Photo by Trey Pentecost.

Tracy Weller and Devin Burnam star in Mason Holding's production of "Consumption." The immersive site-specific play takes place in several rooms of the historic Beverly Social Club in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Photo by Trey Pentecost.

Max Berry

  • Contributing Critic - New York

From the moment you walk into the old victorian house where “Consumption” is being performed, you know that you are in for a different kind of show. Loosely telling the true-ish story Elena Hoyos and Count Carl Von Cosel, and the rumors around their relationship, “Consumption” takes us through the lives of five different couples (All played by Tracy Weller and Devin Burnam) all intersecting through different points in time and space, yet somehow, also all connected. The story is told in an immersive format, all taking place within the Beverly Social Club.

Throughout the show you are guided from room to room, experiencing every moment right there with the characters.  

The stories of “Consumption” were woven together beautifully and yet all felt distinct. You knew when we were with the two teenagers struggling with what their relationship meant as they moved on with their lives or when we were in the all too squeaky clean T.V show, watching the couple fake their way through their day. I was so invested in each of the stories that when one stopped and another continued, I didn’t find myself disappointed. Rather, I was eager to see what this couple has been up to since the last time I saw them. 

Perhaps the most intriguing story to me was the one of the man who is directed to the previously mentioned  T.V show by a mysterious fortune teller. He soon discovers that the show bizarrely mimics his own life and makes it a mission of his to figure out what that means. This further emphasis on blurring the lines of time and reality and is extremely compelling.       “Consumption” is a show that is beautifully written and could have probably worked on a stage just fine. Though, the decision to perform it in an immersive environment just made the whole experience so much more rewarding. From things like, starting the show sitting at a funeral, to the use of an entryway as the border of a television screen, to even little things like all of the lights flickering as we wait for the play to begin, it all made the experience feel that much more theatrical. 

While the immersive aspects of the show were beautifully done, they did not distract from the wonderful acting performances by Weller and Burnam. Whether they were two police officers or a sick woman and her strange but charming doctor, the two worked so well off of each other. You really got the sense that while all of these relationships were very different, they had something that united them through time and space. You felt a buzz of connection between them no matter who they were. It was a little jarring at first to see them go from playing adults to playing teenagers but once you go used to the structure of the show, it didn’t feel as distracting.

In fact, I found the two teenager’s relationship one of the most charming.

Overall, I think “Consumption” was a beautiful immersive theatrical experience and a beautiful show period. The use of the old victorian house, created an atmosphere that was both antique and modern, which allowed for the stories to flow back in forth between different points in time perfectly. The performances were captivating and the multiple stories equally as interesting. The combination of this unique storytelling style and brilliant acting make for a very enjoyable performance that left me grateful for the new ways that theatre is being explored today.

 

“Consumption” was written by Devin Burnam. It was directed by Kristjan Thor.

It features scenic design by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader and lighting design by Daisy Long.

The play was conceived and developed by Mason Holdings Founder and Artistic Director, Tracy Weller.

It was produced by Mason Holdings theatre company.

“Consumption” ran from November 9th-December 8th.

More information available at www.mason.holdings/consumption