By Sarah Downs
You gotta wonder what was in the water in Upstate New York in the mid-19th century. Between Utopianism in Oneida and Mormonism in Palmyra, clearly Upstate was the place to be for finding religion. And then there are the Fox sisters. Kate, with her sisters Leah and Margaretta, from humble Hydesville, ‘accidentally’ created a spiritualist movement, rising to fame speaking to the deceased. In The Fabulist Fox Sister, Kate Fox (Michael Conley) tells us how a moment’s inspiration became a lifelong career. This is Kate’s last performance and she is ready to spill the beans.
The show is an absolute delight. Conley is a natural born storyteller. Gloria Swanson meets Madame Arcati meets Dorothy Parker, Kate is a little camp, a little colloquial and a lot of fun. She is also seditiously insightful, dropping little gems of truth wrapped in humor throughout. Talking about the development of her career as a medium, and the movement that grew from it, she says “Faith is just imagination given too much rope.” Ain’t it the truth?
Her career as a medium exemplifies the power of a popular lie (or was it?) An oft-repeated, compelling lie can trump the truth, if people become emotionally attached to that lie. Indeed for the families grieving over the loss of loved ones, the idea that they could communicate with them from beyond the grave had (and continues to have) powerful appeal.
Presented on Tuesday, September 26 and Friday, September 29, both at 9:30 PM, at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel). Cover charge $25-$45. A livestream option is available for $20.