Friday, April 30, 2021


 For those not in the know (yours truly among them), Investopedia describes dry powder as “a slang term referring to marketable securities that are highly liquid and considered cash-like. Dry powder can also refer to cash reserves kept on hand by a company, venture capital firm or individual to cover future obligations, purchase assets or make acquisitions.” Who knew?

        Jessica John, Javier Guerrero, James Hancock III, Carter Piggee

Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company is presenting Sara Burgess’s 2016 comedy /drama behind the scenes world of high finance; the bargaining, the lies, the deal and the kill in a highly emotional and charged production as directed by Francis Gercke that pits just about every player against his or her self.  

It’s a fast moving 80 plus minute of wheeling and dealing about finances, company layoffs, workers protesting about the layoff’s, investors overseas manufacturing and who in the company has the best plan for the most return on the dollar, er millions of dollars. 

CEO of KMM Capital Management Rick (Javier Guerrero) is trying to recover from the company’s fiasco of laying off many of the grocery workers from a company KMM recently acquired especially after he just threw an expensive party celebrating his upcoming marriage. The optics were not good.

                            Carter Piggee and Jessica John

Enter Seth (Carter Piggee) another partner who, wanting to change the dynamic, suggests the company buy Landmark Luggage, a company founded in America and made in America and using American workers. He has an inside track to the CEO of the company. 

The rub in that scheme is another co-founder Jenny (Jessica John), a wiz at crunching numbers that can make your head spin who has other plans for Landmark Luggage. And so, the beat goes on with wrangling from all sides on how best to seal the deal. The one unknown is Jeff (James Hancock III) CEO of Landmark Luggage who also happens to be buddies with Seth. He’s ready to deal, but too many red flags keep popping up.  

The action takes place over a three day period as the balance of power changes from one character to another, all fully committed to The Deal but approaching it from different angles. All think they want the same thing but are miles apart in the way they do business. 

Both Jenny and Seth argue numbers. Seth thinks he has the upper hand because he and Jeff have known each other and have built some trust between them. Jenny, who can bowl you over with numbers, vies for Rick’s approval when she delivers the bottom line. Rick seems like he’s in a conundrum most of the time by being pulled in all directions.  

Burgess’s play, a fast paced comedy drama, alluded yours truly parts of the time. True confession; I have not balanced my checkbook in over thirty years. Kudos to the four wonderful actors for at least dragging me into the cut throat world of high finances. Or maybe not!

John’s Jenny single purpose of rattling off different scenarios to make the deal work is, to yours truly, mind boggling and she does it with such conviction and confidence and the skill of a high powered control bully. Piggee on the other hand is low keyed, and assured. His is a more controlled and deliberate way of doing business while Hancock’s Jeff, on the receiving end, smells a rat complicated by layoffs and outsourcing and Guerrero’s Rick seems otherwise engaged. 

Francis Gercke directs with a firm hand keeping all the moveable parts going in the right direction. Ross Stewart’s are befitting the players in high roller positions. Tony Cucuzzella’s set is befitting the work place. Jonah Gercke’s filming and Rachel Eubanks editing give the piece a sleek and easily defined look enhanced by Joel Britt’s lighting. Matt Lescault-Wood created the sound design.

Photo Backyard Renaissance.

 Once again Backyard Renaissance has outdone itself in acting, look and, dare I say, the challenge to step into the world of high finances. 

“Dry Powder “will be available for streaming through May 2. 

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