Seattle Rep’s DRY POWDER: Beyond the Theater

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents DRY POWDER by Sarah Burgess from March 17 – April 15, 2017. Set in the top echelons of today’s morally-compromised financial sector, this dark comedy explores the uneasy relationship between being good and doing well. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, CDs and films to enhance your experience of the show: Seattle Rep’s DRY POWDER: Beyond the Theater.

Since the financial collapse of 2008 we have seen many accounts of what happened, what was lost, and who profited and at whose  expense. In All The Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, Bethany McLean offers an incisive and well-reasoned account of how both runaway greed and good intentions contributed to the collapse. Joseph Stieglitz’s The Price of Inequality lays out the adverse practices and fallacious thinking that leaves average consumers prey to rampant exploitation, and our society increasingly divided.

These topics are also explored in award-winning documentaries such as Inside Job and Inequality for All. Christie Freeland’s Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else takes us inside the sometimes surreal lives and minds of the new class of super-affluent, some of whom – together with at least one character in Dry Powder – make us think of us Martha Stout’s sobering exploration of the unfeeling among us, The Sociopath Next Door, if not Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test.

Yet as Burgess’ play demonstrates, sometimes fiction does a better job of capturing the human story behind the headlines. In The Darlings, a compelling debut novel by former Goldman Sachs analyst Christina Alger, no sooner does ambitious lawyer Paul Ross sign on as counsel to his wealthy father-in-law’s investment firm than a huge scandal breaks. For the working stiffs who pay the real price of these high stakes financial ventures, Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came To The End is a hilarious and poignant exploration of our working lives and selves, brought into relief by the gradual demise of a Chicago advertising firm, its ranks thinned by successive waves of layoffs. Earlier fictional explorations of American greed include Tom Wolfe’s classic satire of the morally corrupt moneyed classes The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Theodore Dreiser’s 1912 novel The Financier, depicting the rise and fall of an unscrupulous businessman during our country’s last Gilded Age.

For more, check out our full list of titles topically and thematically tied to Dry Powder.

     – Posted by David W. 

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