Author: Tulis McCall

The A-is-for-Abortion Play

BY KATHLEEN CAMPION The NY International Fringe Festival is nothing if not ambitious – 185 shows in 17 days – playing to a demanding New York audience in August? Are you crazy? That said, watching theatre stripped down to basic elements – blank stage, minimal set and props, simple lighting and effects, leaves us with just the words and the actors. At the Robert Moss Theater on Lafayette “The A-is-for-Abortion Play” relies on four young women sharing stories of how they felt as each realized an unwelcome pregnancy and each decided to abort. Our guide is Alexa (Candace Bryant), a flawless beauty, whose decision to abort is so personal we never know why she decides to do it. We don’t know about the man. We don’t know about her family. Bryant is beguiling but a bit chilly. Bethany (Jen Harris) is warm, and a little shamed, but certain about her choices. We like her, we get her. Harris plays her like a woman but I fear she is written like a Black woman. Clarissa (Julissa Roman) like Bethany, is written too much to stereotype. Clarissa is Hispanic, and Roman, who is Peruvian, is well cast. I kept wishing each was given more to do. That said, the production is a series of quick takes, so perhaps there’s not a lot of room for character development. The magic creature –...

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Sanitation or Off The Grid

BY JERVELLE FREDERICK Sanitation or Off the Grid is daring, fresh, informative and entertaining. Three NYC sanitation workers have saved up their sick days to go on vacation, after dealing with hurricane Sandy their tough boss finally gives them a break. The group then finds themselves in sticky situations involving a sinking ship, mermaids suffering from garage in the sea, drones in the Middle East and much more. The musical charges head on at the issues facing this country with honesty and courage! A show like this would be expected to be a dull adult conversation but it is done in a manner that is children friendly. Crystal Field is a triple threat having written the book, lyrics and being the one behind the amazing direction. The book feels like a series of events but still right because one focuses more on the topics. The score composition and arrangement by Joseph Vernon banks is wonderful, there are some great melodies and smart musical choices made–the closing number especially is one I wouldn’t mind having on my iPod. Speaking of electronics the musical also talks about the digital age and how everything is consumed within the technology world. One of the stand out aspects of the show are the costumes. Desiree Conston, Kima Baffour, Carlos DeSantiago and David Zen Mansley give the eye a colorful show. The set pieces by...

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Quake A love Story

BY ALICE KLUGHERZ “Quake A Love Story” takes place in a storage closet. A formerly married couple has to face what most of us would rather avoid even under the best of circumstances, going through their stuff. The closet is filled with the things they did and didn’t do as individuals and as a couple. The woman, Hannah, played by Kelly Kilgore, screams at her ex, Joe, played by Justin Baldwin. She’s on a roll, and he’s dragging his feet. Each stored object has a story he wants to explore with her. He defends himself or retreats by being oblivious to her and the task at hand. We immediately see why she wanted out and that he still loves her. He’s still jealous of whom she might be with and he’s still the same distracted man she left. They’re doing the final, rip-down-the-middle division of who gets what, when their recycled fights are interrupted by an earthquake. The earthquake strikes just after they have moved anything that might have helped them. There’s something perfect about that because we have all forgotten what we need most and locked the keys in the car (etc.). Without rations or water the past gets a new context, as the present challenges bring the couple closer. Through trial and error they help and hold each other as things get grimmer. I’m sucked in; I...

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I (Honestly) Love You

BY ALICE KLUGHERZ “I (Honestly) Love You” is a comedy about love and the terrors of both honesty and lying in a relationship, written by Damon Lockwood (who is also one of the actors). The four performers are so good you could swear they wrote it together. Like a well practiced team each of the actors plays numerous characters as well as coat racks, tables and other non-living objects. The show moves so fast it’s like watching a relay race of words and physical comedy. The story wraps around the romance of Lloyd Rees, played by Paul Goddard, and Belle Ashton, played by George Gayler with Talei Howell-Price and Damon Lockwood playing friends, waiters and more. Lloyd and Paul meet in a fancy coffee shop and soon discover they both have the same disease – Vitiositas Veritas – an inability to lie. As most of us know, even a small dose of this affliction can cause trouble in a relationship. But in this show it is the premise from which all jokes spring. One of the first lines in the show is like a dare: “If love is a drug then truth is a poison”. The rest of the show is a wild ride that just might disprove this hypothesis. The story turns romantic clichés inside out to a shiny new side that makes you laugh something awful. Mr....

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The Rascals – Once Upon A Dream

Because I don’t read anything about a show before I go see it (I prefer to read about what I was supposed to think after the fact) I thought this was a musical about The Rascals.  I also thought – Whaaaaaaat??? Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this show is not ABOUT The Rascals.  It IS The Rascals, Felix Cavaliere on keyboard and vocals, Eddie Brigati on vocals, Dino Danelli on drums and Gene Cornish on guitar, over 40 years after they released their first record.  And let me tell you:  the joint was jumpin’. The show started with an announcement that “If you have a cell phone or camera you can record, or take pictures or do whatever the F**k you want!!” The second the curtain rose to reveal the band (after an unnecessary prologue, but more about that later) the audience was roaring.  Literally.  Even though the Richard Rogers has had its share of musicals – Guys and Dolls, Damn Yankees, Nine – I don’t think this house has had anything quite like this: a rock concert for people who love sweet rock and roll and who treasure an evening where they don’t have to act their age. The guy sitting in front of me was on oxygen, okay?  By the end of the show he was standing and cheering. Most of the audience was more informed than...

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