Miranda Huba's The House of Kosa. Chorus: Victor Mariano, Lindsay Drummond, Nita Bowerman
House of Kosa


TigerMilk Collective
House of KOSA by Miranda Huba

Dates and Venue October 1 - 9, 2009, @ 8pm | PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero Street (at Georgia)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Each theatre group has its own individual characteristics, and presents something unique in its presentations. This new theatre company does something different, something I've never seen before: an inside look at the sexual perversions and unimaginable behind-the-scene horrors of the fashion world. Miranda Huba's script which contains a lot of wit and profanity, is loosely patterned after the Aristotelian structure by which Sophocles and Euripedes wrote their tragedies, basing House of Kosa from what is perhaps the House of Atreus (although the play opens with the chorus reciting "This is not a Greek play!")

Even the pace of the play is Greek, and the delivery of lines is Brechtian, as Brecht was also heavily influenced by the classics, in his presentational approach to theatre, as does Huba, with the actors making direct eye to eye contact with the audience and even talking to them as they are welcomed to the fashion show.

I found a few inconsistencies, however. Not all the actors maintained the same presentational stance. Michael Springate as the father and Kirsten Slenning as the wayward daughter were different in the rhythm and pace of their speeches. Whereas Springate maintained the Greek/Brechtian delivery, Slenning was more representational and conversational in her delivery. I would have preferred, if I had directed this show, to shy away from the presentational mode. First, and foremost, this would cut down on the length of the play. I found the play too long and with no intermission. I spoke to Slenning during the reception and she explained that if there were an intermission, the continuity of the play would get lost. And rightly so. Thus, the solution should then be to quicken the pace.

Secondly, the presentational approach to theatre could get boring because of its almost robotic acting style, with no nuances and tone changes. Today's audience needs variety, and there was very little variety in the delivery of Springate's lines as were Barbara Bourget's, the mother, whose lines were made up of mostly senseless and absurd questions. Now perhaps the playwright intended this puppet-like approach to speaking and questioning in order to reflect the mannequinned existence of the fashion world.

From the production side, the mise-en-scene was cleverly multi-functional, and changed easily from a ramp where the models paraded, to the different rooms of the house, then to a dining table, and later, a secret closet/dungeon. As you enter the theatre, the stage to the right translates into the mother's attic which then switches over as a white backdrop. I was a bit annoyed, however, by the sound effects as the media seats were put right beside the speakers. However, despite these apparent flaws, I found the show unique and entertaining, and I congratulate director Olivia Delachanal, the cast and crew for their efforts and creativity.

© 2009 Ed Farolan