It’s been one wild ride for our intrepid team as we immersed ourselves in the Capital Fringe Festival this year. Here are the last few shows for Patrick and Joanna from the final weekend, and look for everyone’s final thoughts on the whole festival experience later. We need a theater detox first. Buttons off!
Recapped: OkStupid’s Secret Math Lab, Nephrectomy, Legal Tender, A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
OkStupid’s Secret Math Lab
As a sad, lonely reviewer I’m often asked, “Patrick, have you ever tried online dating?” Of course I have. I believe almost everybody in today’s digital generation has tried online dating to varying degrees of success. In a world of online pizza delivery, instant navigation, and the answer to almost any trivia answer right at our fingertips, why can’t we figure out a way to streamline love? According to Erin Bylander’s OkStupid’s Secret Math Lab, it should be possible to boil attraction down to a math equation, personified by the stylishly dressed Chris Andersen. As a personification of a site eerily similar to one of the most popular free dating websites out there, he helps Lucy (Colleen Sproull) find true love through the power of math. Bylander’s script and direction by Maria O’Connor come together to create a very entertaining comedy full of sharply written lines that take great aim at the hoops we jump through in the online dating game. Andersen’s Al Gorithm and fellow OkStupid minions (Donta Hensley, Rebecca Korn, Morgan Sendek, Ben Church) live and die by arithmetic to an alarming degree. In the end the comedy asks the question we all have asked after another unsuccessful online match: is attraction something that can be quantified and measured with computers?
A group of three mall shop workers navigate love, loss, and kidney surgery in Staunch Theatre Company’s ambitious dark comedy about 20-something angst. The small cast gave a valiant effort on Saturday afternoon and kept the audience’s interest with the help of a fairly original and dynamic script by playwright/director Elizabeth Hagerty. The script, which teeters around romcom for the first half of the show, meanders until it eventually devolves into farcical horror, where it thrives. While some of the characters’ choices seem unrealistic and either too good (or too bad) to be true, the show advertises itself as an exaggeration – and that it is.
In this well-polished reflection on the value of a dollar, Sanctuary Theatre’s Performing Knowledge Project presents Elizabeth Bruce’s flash fiction collection-in-progress “50 Dollars.” A five-person cast explores nine short vignettes without any editing to the original text. The company’s inventive staging is a delight. However, without any changes to the work of fiction that serves as its base, the script can feel tedious and distracting at times. Tiny adaptations would greatly serve the piece as a whole. The short stories are great, but they remain great short stories rather than theater at its finest.
A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
After loving the short preview I saw of her last year, I was thrilled to see for my own eyes what all the fuss was about with Miss Hiccup. And this 2012 festival success did not disappoint in year #2. Beloved Japanese clown Yanomi is an endearing, exciting presence on a mostly bare stage. When she invites us to experience a typical day with her, she offers up a world of fantasy, fun, and surprise. To do that is to succeed already, but Miss Hiccup goes further: she takes the audience on an unexpected emotional journey that feels at once breathtaking, heartbreaking, hopeful, and hilarious. This was my last show at Fringe this year, and also my favorite. I hope Yanomi will come back to DC soon, ideally with new tricks up her sleeve.