Fringe NYC 2012 Reviews

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2013 Starting the Year (January) With a Few Good Promises
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"MANIPULATION" at Cherry Lane
Fringe 2012
Fringe 2011 (NYC)
Some Things in 2008 Worth Remembering: First "Happy Days" at BAM, then The Scottish Tale
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Angelica Torn
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Fringe NYC 2012

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MY DATE WITH TROY DAVIS Sgouros Theater (upstairs) @ 115 MacDougal Street
This poorly realized solo-piece was more like a blind date gone sadly, quickly awry. Climbing up the 2 rickety flights of stairs to get to this venue was far more interesting than this shtick about a young fellow in prison lamenting - weakly, the tragedy of the late prisoner, Troy Davis. Daniel Glenn portrays a "rich white boy on death row" somehow relating his Davisian-brand view of the world. Davis was a convicted murderer in Georgia - regarding the death of a police officer. In the fall of 2011, Davis failed in getting a last minute, final amnesty. The CNN web site noted "International figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte, and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated". All appeals failed. The effort by Davis and his supporters to find relief as the final hours, minutes and seconds wound down was certainly a lot more dramatic than "My Date With Troy Davis" - written and performed by Daniel Glenn, directed by Amy Suratt.                    - KEVIN MARTIN

Kraine Theater, East 4th Street Written by Matthew Green, Directed by Austin Regan
This is a dull, somewhat lengthy Mormon on Mormon piece of "political comedy" (my quotes) with a thin, pseudo-entertaining TV sitcom veneer; good for napping if you need to catch up on any sleep. This "work" is not much more than a wannabe kind of Seinfeld outing with quick, cutesy, white-bready one-liners, ideal for mid-week TV viewing, - if you have nothing else to do with your life. The audience, curiously enough, seemed to be having a good time through and through.  Whenever I awoke from my slumber, I was hearing a good deal of Ha-Ha-Ha-ing, and could not understand it, really.  The reason could be that the audiences of this early 21st century have overdosed on too much boob-toobery while growing up.  The lighting was fine. - KEVIN MARTIN

THE MEDEA PROJECT  Performed @ The Living Theater, Stanton Street.
Bruka Theatre and Sandra Brunell Neace
Writer: Sandra Brunell Neace Director: Sandra Brunell Neace
"The Medea Project" is an exquisitely acted, well-presented piece examining the issue of (frequently) maternal filicide in contemporary life. Originally produced by Bruka Theatre in Reno Nevada, this is a fresh and intelligent ensemble piece (all women, thank-you very much) that energetically explores the killing of kids by their moms - and maybe dads, once in a while.  "The Medea Project" is replete with fresh video news clips of various case examples taken from recent memory: murderesses Jennifer Yates, Susan Smith, et al. Writer and Director Sandra Brunell Neace skillfully moves this exploration of filicide forward. This is a painful topic when one thinks of all the innocent lives so horribly terminated. "The Medea Project" - while also recalling the ancient rage and revenge of the Euripiidean Medea as part of its denouement - is an excellent and genuinely thought-provoking work. (Pssst: The lighting/imaging was a bit off during my visit. Please fix.).

Connelly Theater, East 4th Street
A compelling, odd premise of a (perhaps) unintended dream/nightmare kidnapping, acted by a decent cast, - this exercise in wild imaginings as near-suspense material is an interesting piece.  When the repressed desires and private regrets of one youngish wife hook up and activate the memory of disregarded longing, you might get a character like the state trooper’s wife - "Rebecca", who yearns and burns to reconnect to an intimacy of a past contact once thrown away.  Let it suffice that the playwright, Alison Crane (also acting in the title role), makes some useful energy of her new-found situation as the playwright, creating a few unconsciously lustful, conflicting impulses for audience absorption (albeit thin in the area of resolution).  There is no doubt that the circumstances offered up here are intriguing, and, - without giving away the goods - perhaps worthy of our own reflection(s): how much more interesting would my life had been if I had only .... , and so on.  We all have a regret or two, in some way or other, yes?  For the most part, "The Abduction of Becky Morris" is fairly directed, while  parts of the blocking could have been neater, sharper.  Among the actors, all of whom acted rightly from start to finish, actor Mary Ruth, in the two roles of Agent Pearson and Linda Goodkind ("It's Linda"!), was an total stand-out, every step of the way.  Jason Wilson, as both Reverend Deputy Blackhawk and Reverend Dale Goodkind, was excellent. Costume choices were strong, and sound was wonderfully appropriate.         - KEVIN MARTIN

Cherry Lane Theatre, Commerce Street (West Village)
The play bearing the above title went rather smoothly - and energetically, for about the first 10 or 15 minutes, and then sank into a kind of wet, drowning oblivion, - paddling  with dull interest to the conclusion's dry, barren shore.  I could not understand much of the piece, even though the part of Gant was appealingly acted by Ian Hopps; that is, the actor seemed to have to paddle up-stream, as it were.  To top it all off, the piece did eventually reach its end, and the audience was mainly courteous, - but the cast never took a curtain call!  That was something that I am sure I have never before witnessed. Maybe that was a message from "Edward Gant's Amazing Feats Of Loneliness", leaving perhaps some of us just feeling, well, - a little lonely.  EGAFOL is written by Anthony Neilson, directed by Michael Saarela.        - KEVIN MARTIN
Kraine Theater, East 4th Street
A strong presentation for witnessing a modern take on societal oppression in contemporary U.S.A. is this play with 9 actors in substantive roles - in a pro-communistic perspective of capitalism at work in our daily national life.  The play may serve to remind contemporary thinkers that the social and economic travails of today's America are the echoes of past institutional prejudices, harking back to African-American slavery, with the plight of the wronged millions, since then, that have  sought to enter upon the level playing field of justice and freedom, - morally, politically, and legally. The play's addendum notes refer to the current way of life under Mr. Barack Obama,  and his own apparent success at keeping the unpleasant tide of economic and social  unfairness moving, intact, against the masses.  The play gives a certain foretelling to this reality by showing the early plight of William and Ellen Craft, both slaves in the pre-Civil War years, and their fascinating escape to freedom, outside the U.S.  The ending is a little fascinating, and unexpected.  The entire cast - including the impressive effort of actor Aaron Seglin as the Traveling Minstrel (as the story's narrator), deserves strong acknowledgement.  Based on the real life writings of William Craft and adapted by Georgiana Hart, "The Slave Who Became A Man" is directed by Keith Hoovler; the excellent costumes, lighting, and sound by Lynn Lewis, Ed Pearson, and Jason Davis, respectively, all demonstrate fine skills.            - KEVIN MARTIN

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