Taking McMansion battles to the stage

One playwright thinks neighborhood battles over McMansions provides compelling material:

The threads that run through “Two Stories,” a new play making its world premiere at Salt Lake Acting Company, are pulled from today’s headlines: “Neighbors battle over McMansions” and “Can newspapers save jobs with web hits?”

The topics are just two things that keep Utah playwright Elaine Jarvik — a former reporter with a love of houses and neighborhood aesthetics — up at night.

“I really wanted to tell both these stories,” she said. “There was a connection: my rights versus your rights, and what do we really own?”

The play follows Jodi Wolcott, an old-school journalist forced to produce stories that will draw web hits, and the Masoris family, who plan to remodel their modest house…

The tension explodes when Amir and his wife plan to remodel their house into a two-story McMansion that will change the look of the middle-class neighborhood and cut off the Wolcotts’ light and view.

The underlying story of the property rights of a homeowner (the American ideal!) versus neighbors (your new home threatens my own and the neighborhood!). What resolution can they find? I know these sorts of reviews don’t give away the ending but since I’m not going to get to Salt Lake City anytime soon, I would love to know how it all comes together. The last cultural product I viewed involving McMansions was Gone Girl and that story involving McMansions – with the author playing up the McMansion part in the early pages (a common theme in darker stories of recent years) – did not turn out well.

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