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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Review: Are Ya Working?

Two good things happened to me today. The first good thing was that Mike woke up before I did, took the kids into the kitchen to allow me an extra thirty minutes of snooze time, then woke me up by shouting, “Pancakes are ready!” Pancakes? On a Thursday? Have I died and gone to the Heaven that hath no dieters? No, both life and the maple syrup was real, baby. Real!

The second good thing was that I got out of the house tonight wearing all black (gasp!) and trekked into the city in my single gal car (the one without the car seats) to see Steven Karwoski’s play Are Ya Working?

Today was one of those days that adds to the soul rather than takes from it.

Karwoski’s play was worth the trip into the city, the walk through the Tenderloin, and the price of admission ($9). He’s a one man think tank disclosing what it’s like being raised blue collar by people whose rules to live by include such “hard core working class” anthems as, “We don’t have much, but what we do have we keep clean.”

Karwoski broke his blue collar mold by being the first in his family to go to college. But even armed with a college degree he still found himself working in one demeaning industry after another, first the food industry, then the AV (audio visual) equipment industry, then back into the food industry, with forays into the world of substitute teaching. Oh, the horrors.

Lucky for us, Karwoski can look at his life, pluck out the funny and moving bits, and relay them in a fast-paced engaging manner. He can tell a good story and being in his audience feels cozy and intimate. It reminded me of hanging out in a bar with a boisterous loud friend who is cute and animated, especially when he is talking about his favorite subject—himself.

When I got home and told Mike about the play, he mentioned that there’s a Family Guy episode that contains a skit making fun of an actor whose show is all about his life. The actor on Family Guy takes three hours to tell the story of his life; that’s why it’s so easy to satirize. Karwoski had me alternately laughing and nodding my head thoughtfully, and he managed to keep his show to 60 minutes. Now that’s what I like about the Fringe Festival; it’s theatre even those of us with undiagnosed ADD can love.

Are Ya Working? plays six more times now through Saturday, September 17. If you live in the SF Bay Area and you’d like to laugh out loud at a man telling the stories of his life as an “Uber Schlepper,” then by all means go check out this play.