Crabs in a Bucket Introduces Us to Ourselves at Echo Theatre Company

Hull, Sturgis, LaMadrid, Romero. Photo by Cooper Bates.

What a metaphor for life! Bernardo Cubria simmers it down to a shucking bucket of crabs, all struggling to get up and out, no matter at whose (or whats’) expense.  Sound familiar?  If you wanted to get serious about late capitalism, yada, yada, this play provides a perfect backdrop.  But if you just want to recognize yourself amid the rat-er-crab race, you’ll love Echo Theatre Company’s depiction of Crabs in a Bucket.

In this clever allegory, there are only two crabs left in this shucking bucket: Amargo (Xochitl Romero) spends her days talking chit about all the Crabs who have come before, including the legendary Mamon (Michael Sturges), to impressionable Pootz (Anna LaMadrid).  She may have the ulterior motive just to keep her companion in the bucket for company, but she comes across as a wise and seasoned crab who has seen it all; and the worst is an “Almost” success. But a new crab splashes down into the bucket: Beb (Jordan Hull) is full of energy and optimism.  Fresh from Before, she’s sure that she’ll be exploring the Beyond soon enough.  But before she has time to groom her claws, Mamon is returned to the bucket and the competition to reach the outer world escalates.

To bring this fantasy to life, director Alana Dietze has taught her actors diagonal perambulation to accent the “crabbiness” of each character.  Imaginative costumes by Lou Cranch submerge us into the interior of the bucket, while Amanda Knehans brilliant orange set centered on the looming door to Before, keeps us centered on the crabs’ plight and possibility of escape.  Lighting (Arra King-Abadi) and sound- composition (Jeff Garner and Arien Saleh, respectively) create the ambiance.

Imaginative use of language, the absurdist musing on getting on and over in life, tell the story with the cooperation of all elements together; ultimately revealing the antidote to a dog-eat-er, crab world.

Crabs in a Bucket continues Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 pm, Sundays at 4 pm and Mondays at 8:00 through August 21st at Echo Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave. Los Angeles, CA., 90039.  Weekend tickets are $34, Mondays are pay-what-you-can.  Call (310) 307-3753 or online at