Just a quick note about our source material for our new play Big Money … This is a pretty fascinating documentary that will tell you most of what you need to know about Michael Larson factually, but we’re interested in things that go beyond the facts. We want to examine his mind.
Michael Larson represents some of the best and worst aspects of the American entrepreneurial spirit. He’s inventive, persistent and focused, but also greedy and determined to the point of delusion. I’m really interested in exploring our capacity to be both hero and villain, and how those roles are so rarely easy to separate from one another. We all want to be winners but if we are to win, others must lose.
Our biggest challenge in creating this show is the character of Michael Larson himself. It would be very easy to make him some sort of comically deplorable character, so we’re working together to find his humanity and make him widely relate-able. We don’t have to like Michael, but we must understand him and his decisions. I want the audience to see this show and recognize aspects of themselves: a desire to win, cleverness, rule-bending, etc; and then see what happens when those impulses and traits are allowed to go unchecked.
We knew this show would have relevance to us today, but the more we dig, the more relevant it becomes.
Theo Langason is Director for Sandbox Theatre’s Big Money, playing January 12-28 at Park Square Theatre in the Historic Hamm Building on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage.