Sunday, February 5, 2023

"Cashed Out" ★★ BANG

San Francisco Playhouse is to be commended for "Cashed Out," a production commissioned by SFP and written, directed, acted and supported backstage by Native Americans. The story takes place in Arizona, not far from the reservation of the Gila River Community, and we are immersed in the dark corners of Res life -- notably, addictions in several flavors.

The Camu family has been weaving high-end baskets for generations: "I'm a Camu. I make baskets." We meet Rocky and Levi, played by Rainbow Dickerson and Chingwe Padraig Sullivan, during several periods of their lives. Levi represents solidity and Rocky is trouble. Her inability to resist gambling in local casinos talks not only of the dangers these casinos pose to local people but also how they have disrupted native geography and customs.

Special credit must be given to Sheila Tousey, who plays Aunt Nan, the seen-it-all earth mother of the Camu family, now that her sister, Rocky's mother Virginia Camu (Lisa Ramirez) has gone off the rails.

As often happens with premieres, it takes awhile to iron out the kinks. Acting can be a bit stiff and the show feels long, especially Act One, whose ending sets us up for an Act Two payoff that never really develops. But we do get a feel for a world about which we know little. There is a lot to like about "Cashed Out."


The San Francisco Theater BlogAwards Division gives a Two Star with Bangle of Praise rating to "Cashed Out." Sheila Tousey and Rainbow Dickerson's performances merit the Stars and the Bangle is for Dickerson's visible descent into addiction in Act Two. 

San Francisco Playhouse
450 Sutter Street, San Francisco
(2d floor of Kensington Hotel)
Through Feb. 25, 2023

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