Between Riverside and Crazy: One Man's Struggle to Keep His Rent-Stabilized Apartment

July 21, 2014 2:12 PM

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With their backs to the wall, creative artists are struggling to come to terms with the forces of gentrification that are altering their lives beyond recognition. So, in a sense, it's no surprise to find a playwright wrestling with this subject, which after all, touches many of them personally. On the other hand, probably due to the complexities of the issues surrounding rent control, eviction proceedings, social engineering, city corruption, etc., there haven't been many attempts. That's why Between Riverside and Crazy, a new play by the Atlantic Theatre Company, represents a real act of courage by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. Handily defeating the dark, depressing nature of the subject matter, the play was hilariously funny, poignant, and infinitely enjoyable. Clocking in at just under two hours, the time went by in a flash. After the intermission, as an attempt is made to move the plot forward, the play becomes both less funny and less believable at the same time. However, the first act alone is well worth the price of admission.

The play opens in the kitchen of the rent stabilized apartment of the main character, "Pops," an elderly retired cop played by Stephen McKinley Henderson. Having lost his wife a year ago, Pops is in poor health, he drinks a lot, and he's fallen prey to his middle-aged son and his son's no-account f...

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