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Thursday, March 12, 2009

FRIGID: Are We Freaks?

The Fab Marquee review by Diánna Martin.

It's that time of year again for The Frigid Festival, a wonderful way that nearly three dozen theatre companies can put up over 150 performances and showcase their talents - and with the actors able to take home their earnings, to boot! Founded by Horse Trade and EXIT Theatre in 2007, Frigid is quickly becoming a place to find some of the most interesting and entertaining original works in NYC.

Unfortunately, Are We Freaks, a series of four vignettes that cross the threshold of somewhere between The Twilight Zone and Steel Magnolias just doesn't quite work for me. Actually, they are listed as "short plays" but I really can't call them as such. I'm a big fan of "not your 'normal' shows" and when I read that it was about abnormal women (freakishly so, in an almost sci-fi kind of way) and their relationships with each other, I was excited to go to the show. Especially when I found out that Bricken Sparacino was the writer and co-director of the evening.

The stories, however, fall flat. They are not developed enough to be left alone as short plays, in my opinion. The only one that really seemed to have an arc was the very end - and I don't want to spoil, except that it involves a character from the first "play" and it was interesting to see what had happened to her friend.

There were some stand out performances by Caitlin the Cat (Melanie Wehrmacher) - I have three of my own (yes, I'm the crazy cat lady), and I loved her portrayal of a fabulous feline - it was simply done, not over-the-top. Lizz (Uma Incrocci) was also very good; I did not have to stretch any to go along with the idea that she had become a man, and to her credit, she did not push to force-feed the idea to the audience. We bought it easily enough.

I think the ideas of the evening's stories and the possibilities of where they could have gone were there. I just had problems with the execution of the show overall as a whole, and felt that it needed a lot more work. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens with festivals due to the time limitations and requirements put upon the actors and theatre companies. However, I have seen other shows at Frigid that were well-oiled machines, so I can't use that as excuse for this production.

I applaud the ladies for an an attempt at what could have been an interesting show. I hope that with perhaps more fine-tuning to the script and its details, as well as actors really dealing with each other on stage instead of playing a concept of a character, it can return to the stage for another run and affect the audience (or, at least, this audience-goer) the way that I had hoped.

This show's last performance was March 8th, 2009
Part of the New York Frigid Festival
Presented by Horse Trade and EXIT Theatre

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