The Shoplifters by Morris Panych
In this riotously funny new comedy from Morris Panych, we meet Alma, a seasoned career shoplifter who prefers the five-finger discount over some lousy seniors’ day deal. But it’s not just an empty wallet that leads Alma to a life of petty crime – it’s also her strong convictions about social justice and economic equality.
Along for the ride is Phyllis, Alma’s frazzled accomplice who lacks her mentor’s cool demeanour and snappy comebacks. It’s Alma who does the talking when the pair is apprehended at the grocery store by Dom, an overzealous rookie security guard. Guided by the strictness of his born-again Christian belief, Dom is ready to handcuff the culprits and call the police, but his affable senior partner, Otto, intervenes with a more sympathetic view of the crime: “It’s just a couple a steaks.” As Alma, Phyllis, Dom, and Otto share their wildly different takes on the situation, complex views on morality and ethics begin to emerge.
With its cast of oddball characters, Panych’s comedy offers biting observations about society’s haves and have-nots and how much they might actually have in common.