The last of the “unexpectedly charming” group of previews from the Fringe-For-All last Monday would be…
“SEX, SOAP, TORTURE, WEATHER is a quirky quartet of fantastical and dark comedies showing the clash between the sexes from the stress of potential, the problems that may occur, the pain that may come, and the joy of til death do us part. Sure to be a delight for those who want a night of variety in their Fringe experience, and people who want to see new plays, this show simply can’t be missed.
In VOLLEY by Alina Phelan, Matt Saxe, Bethany Ford, and Christopher Mogel, a couple duels to decide if a relationship will even start.
SOAP by Steve Stajich shows a couple at a crossroads deciding how far is too far when it comes to supporting their family.
In Matt Saxe and Christopher Mogels IT SEEMS LIKE TORTURE TO ME an L.A. actor learns a painful life lesson.
Finally in Kennedy Center Award-Winning playwright Jonathan Yukichs A SHORT HISTORY OF WEATHER two weather obsessed eccentrics, meet, fall in love and spend their lives together in a romance sure to touch the funny bone in anyone’s heart.”
When I read this was a group largely out of California, my first thought was “Uh oh.”
Don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are in California right now. And a lot of amazing writing goes on in California. But the last time I encountered a Fringe show from California, it was kind of a disaster. The acting was great but the writing was awful. It was an approximation of life and emotion and character, rather than, you know, actual human beings. I went in thinking it would be good, but was served up something painfully bad.
So, to be honest, when this, the final preview of Fringe-For-All last Monday, was to be presented, I was bracing myself.
The excerpt, from “A Short History Of Weather,” was just the right choice to disarm me. Yes, the characters were quirky. Exceedingly so. Yes, the situation was odd. But it was also whimsical, and funny, and romantic. And if anybody can deliver whimsical, funny and romantic, it’s Minneapolis actress Bethany Ford. (Bethany’s done a lot of solid work both as an actress and director, more than any one person could keep up with as an audience member. And she earned even more of my admiration by choosing to launch her theater company, Prufrock, with John Guare’s Landscape of the Body – one of my all-time favorite scripts, and another grab bag of oddly romantic characters and situations.)
A man describes how his wife fell from the sky one day. A woman traveling in an ill-fated hot air balloon who had to jump to make her escape. (Ahhhh… plop!, says the woman as she lays on the ground to play her part). They are both obsessed with weather conditions. Her name is Aloe Vera, his is Earl Grey. And I know what you’re thinking – “Really? Oh, please.” But it was delightful and silly and sweet. And after a very full night of 28 other previews, some good, some less than good, for a preview to break through my sense of dread and my sense of “wow, it’s been a long night,” well, that’s pretty remarkable. You get the sense that the writer knows what they’re doing, that they’re going to walk that tricky line and pull the concept off. And if the other short scripts are just as good, then this could be a really nice collection.
Their websites – www.shadowhorsetheatre.com