Labyrinth Credit: Austin D. Oie

You’d think by now we’d need no more convincing: bankers are crooks, the financial system is a top-heavy house of cards, and Brooks Brothers is for assholes.

Enter Broken Nose Theatre’s Labyrinth. A riveting drama—and compelling primer on how U.S. loans fucked over Latin American countries back in the 70s and 80s—the story dissects economic corruption at a subjective level. As director Spenser Davis points out in his program notes, Labyrinth is about “the people getting the deals done.” It’s not about taking out the economy’s transmission and explaining each of the parts; it’s about understanding the emotions and histories that drive people to insatiable greed and its inevitable fallout.

Beth Steel’s play begins with John Anderson (William Anthony Sebastian Rose II), a scrappy young banker, at an interview for his first big job. It’s 1978. WIthout an Ivy League education and moneyed pedigree, John has clawed his way up and will stop at nothing to avoid his con-man father’s fate. He will do things the right way. John then finds himself jetting off to Latin America to sell loans to developing economies. Along with his steely and quick coworker Charlie (David Weiss), John holds the wand to an enormous credit bubble and keeps blowing into it.

But, of course, too much hot air catches up with John, and he spirals out as the cracks begin to show. Bankruptcy begins to suffocate everything, including John’s own morals. As his reality and madness begin to peel apart, John takes the audience on a tragic trip to financial Hell—and it doesn’t seem like we’ve ever really escaped.  v