POST: 'The Gambler' - if anyone found this romantic, they are ludicrous


What's it about?

The Gambler is a play that deals with love, money, and gambling. Alexi is a tutor to a rich family. The family is in debt and takes a trip to Roulettenburg. They all await Antonida’s death to inherit money from her will but not everything goes as planned in this city notorious for gambling.

What'd I experience?

I walked into the theatre and the chairs were all packed closely together. I listened as people conversed around me, mainly about previous ushering jobs. Then, the lights dimmed till a spotlight appeared on "the gambler" or as we know him in the beginning poor old Alex Ivanovich. Which sounds like a sexy name after the 5th time it was said. He was being circled by different characters while he sat on a chair, center stage. They slowly one by one all exited the stage.

His name was said mostly by the rich Polina Alexandrovna. She often teased him and called him a nobody, playfully. But Tbh I wanted to punch her. She was soooo annoying yo. Anyone who thinks it's cute to degrade another human being is sick in the head. She's honestly lucky that he loved her. I'm not even sure why. I didn't see anything dynamic in her except sometimes she would "flirt" when she was bored or wanted something. She deadass played him :/ I felt so bad like, nooo grow some balls, you don't deserve this. No one deserves this. No one should be mocked or ridiculed - that is stupidity, not love.

So, they were on their way to Roulettenburg, which was a city known for gambling. Alexi was a tutor to Polina’s two younger sisters. Every now and then she would come in and make smart remarks about Alexi’s teaching. It was obvious he liked her and obvious she either liked him or had fun playing around with him. They were all staying with her uncle, the General, who was in debt. But unfortunately and gratefully, Polina’s aunt was dying so once she was dead they would all soon be rich.

I think it’s awfully sad that someone would depend on a tragic thing for such a thing to come out of it. In hindsight, I’m actually quite surprised no one has tried to kill her (Polina's aunt). I swear money is the root of all evil. Polina thought she was the shit, some Orange County girl who was tryinga mess with a boy from Inglewood and knew it was improper so all she could do was tease him.

Ohhhhh, but when she lost all her money?... THATTTSSS when she decided to tell him that she loved him.

Honestly it didn’t take a whole play to figure out that you liked the guy, you knew it from the beginning. She was always so mean to him and that bothered me. He was whipped. Basically he was at her beck and call. Anything Polina wanted, Polina got. It bothered me that he tried to please her so much. I swear if anyone found this romantic, they are ludicrous.

He left her in a hotel room while he went to gamble and gained a bunch of money for her. He brought it into her hotel room like a big shot. He tried to perfect himself to be what she wanted him to be. She was always saying that he was a nobody because he was poor. He wanted to be somebody, so he made it big time in gambling…

But all material things are fleeting. Money comes and money goes. Especially anything having to do with the lottery. It is not an ongoing revenue. It was a one time big break that if you don’t use carefully will be gone in no time. What happened? All was lost in no time, and he was back in Roulettenburg. damn. Can’t say I didn’t see this coming.

It was tragic. Watching the play from the beginning, I felt I knew every downfall. Not because the play was predictable, but because when you live enough, life becomes predictable. Humans are predictable. Many humans live barcode lives that it almost seems as if they could write everything they did in a journal yesterday and tomorrow it would be the exact same words.

I guess, gambling is a lot like life. We put our chips on the table not really knowing where the money will land. The General gambled with his everything by placing his chips on the fact that Antonida would die, but that’s not where his money landed. The sad part is that was his only solution, that is where he placed all his chips.

Sometimes we do that in life. A lot of times in relationships. We put all our eggs into one basket, or all our chips in one place and when we lose, we lose it all. I’m still learning how to become emotionally disciplined. How am I able to be in a healthy relationship where I don’t need the person? No offense. But you shouldn’t need someone to complete you. Saying you need someone means that if you lose them, you lose a piece of you. But you were already whole. Alexi was already whole and never needed a Polina.

The show ended with Polina livings as a servant for a rich man who once loved her, named Lord Assley. She refused to be with him romantically because she wanted Alexi but it was too late. Love is sometimes too late. Love is sometimes imperfect. Did she ever really love him? I don’t know but I was done for the day. I had work from 9am to 6pm and this was hurting my brain. Good night.


Want to see it?

$9 Tickets (thru OffOff@9)
$25 Tickets

The Gambler
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
@ The Wild Project
thru Feb. 13