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Manufacturing Mischief at The Tank

Pedro Reyes_MIT_Sham Sthankiya33

Manufacturing Mischief at The Tank

There is something so entirely engaging about watching puppets say and do things that are totally unfiltered. This type of production can be both confronting and very humorous, and you can find one right here in NYC. Manufacturing Mischief is exactly what it sounds like, but will also make you question the influence certain individuals have on democracy.

Manufacturing Mischief is a satirical puppet show about critical thinking versus modern-day technology. Imagine Noam Chomsky going head-to-head with Steve Jobs and Elon Musk while Ayn Rand and a small Donald Trump get it on. Yes, those are the main characters of this wild show. Enticed yet?

Directed by Meghan Finn and written by Paul Hufker, this play highlights the political division and chaos of government and presents on the idea of artificial intelligence and the continual power struggle by well-known individuals with some very surprising results.

MIT CAST, Pedro Reyes's puppet play Manufacturing Mischief. Noam Chomsky, Millie and Karl Marx. Photos by Sham Sthankiya April 2018.

MIT CAST, Pedro Reyes’s puppet play Manufacturing Mischief. Noam Chomsky, Millie, and Karl Marx. Photos by Sham Sthankiya April 2018.

There is also something classic and entertaining about the plot of good versus evil. But what is different about this story is who it casts as good and evil. The evil characterizations damage and destroy everything you know about democracy but in a satirical presentation that will probably mess with your head a little bit.

Pedro Reyes took the ideas of Finn and Hufker and conceived and created Manufacturing Mischief as a critical analysis of egos and power play at the top level of democracy, while also proving that anyone with a small amount of influence will try and do anything for their own personal gain.

The puppetry on stage is beautifully crafted and expertly executed. There is something about watching these silly dolls that can’t help but bring a smile to your face. And the fact that they’re using real-life caricatures as the main cast? Brilliant. 

In a time when the government seems to be running at its own pace and against the wish of the majority, it’s good to see a humorous take on the commander-in-chief, created by some of the leading literary and critical thinkers of our time. All of this works together in presenting an extremely comical production that will lift your spirits.

Manufacturing Mischief is currently playing at The Tank in New York. Get tickets here.

Featured Image Credit: Sham Sthankiya

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Matthew started reviewing theater in 2007 but first started working in the Theater industry in the mid ‘90s in Sydney Australia. Reviewing for numerous online sites and print magazines, Matthew moved to New York over two years ago and has been a regular reviewer for W42St Magazine covering everything on Broadway and Off-Broadway. Such a theater nut that he lives in Midtown as he loves being as close to Broadway as possible!

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