Cost of Living

Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Cost of Living, is running on Broadway in a splendid, moving production at Manhattan Theatre Club.

The show charts the daily lives of two characters dealing with reduced physical capacities and their caretakers (one hired; one a separated spouse). These characters navigate within a world of uncertainty and fear and, in a psychological sense, isolation, whether able-bodied or confined to a wheelchair.

The pathos of the piece is palpable as the foursome deals with tremendous pain and frustration at their individual circumstances and the ways they ended up in these circumstances.

From the opening monologue inviting the audience to join in a drink to a frightening bathroom scene to a tender human connection at the end, the play sizzles with a tension that explodes out at moments both sad and laugh-out-loud funny.

Photo by Jeremy Daniel/New York Post

Martyna Majok tackles difficult subject matter and a topic isn’t often seen portrayed, even in today’s cognizant environment. And she does it with aplomb. When one character is described as “differently abled” he reacts with a vehement “Don’t call me that—it’s retarded!”

The actors Gregg Mozgala, Katy Sullivan, Kara Young and David Zayas comprise the cast and they embrace their roles with relish and nuance. Every gesture, every look, every enunciation is packed with meaning.

The play is a beautiful meditation on the big struggles and small triumphs of the human spirit and how, with just a touch of thoughtful compassion, life can blossom, even at a price.

Cost of Living runs through November 6.