Elmwood Playhouse Takes a Look at “Undocumented” People in “Living Out”

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

On stage through October 4

Director of “Living Out” Kathy Gnazzo says we sometimes forget that undocumented workers have a human face; that they are, in fact, “just people.”

The play, running through October 4 at Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack, depicts mainly the life of young immigrant women who work as nannies and the difficulties they face when questioned as to whether they have children of their own, where they come from and how trustworthy are they.

“Living Out” dramatizes the conditions that prevail in such situations. Misti Dawn Garritano as Ana, the lead nanny in this play, tries her best to cope with a situation that has her taking care of someone elses child, while she has two of her own. She fences with her employer, Nancy (Alison Costello), who is at first distrustful and then warms up to the strong efforts of Ana to take care of Nancy’s child. “Living Out” develops this relationship to a dramatic end that is not good, and along the way other nannies share their impressions of the conditions they face.

These impressions are marked with humor as the nannies talk to each other in a park setting. In the dialogue between Nancy and Ana and the interplay of Nancy’s husband, Richard(Stavros Adamides), tensions arise as Nancy suspects Richard of possibly fooling around with Ana.

They celebrate the first crawling by Richard and Nancy’s baby and have a small drink together, and Nancy wrongfully suspects Ana of stealing a $5 bill Nancy left on a counter. All of this leads to some pretty good acting and strong comic relief from Pauline Quinones as nanny Zoila.

Costello is very good in her role of the mother. A lot of the action has to do with the child-mother-nanny relationship, although other issues the undocumenteds face are brought out and the end comes with a disastrous conclusion.

“Living Out” is presented professionally and the message is there and gives reason to Gnazzo’s statement that there is a common bond in our human condition if we remove ourselves from the noise of the national conversation on immigration and stop to consider that the undocumenteds are, in fact, “just people.”

I rate “Living Out” Two and a Half Stars Out of Four.