Category Archive for: ‘David Hirzel’

Fringe of Marin Spring 2014: Season Opener

The Fringe of Marin has gotten off to a good start for Spring 2014, opening their 33rd season’s Program One at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall.  This relatively new venue (2nd season there) is in most ways a decided improvement over the stage at Meadowlands.  There is, for example, a real theatrical sound and lighting system, a real stage and several hundred banked seats.  These, taken together, add a theatrical polish to the overall production, and this in turn brings out the best in the performances.

One of the best of these is the opener, “Fourteen” (written by Inbal Kashtan), a glimpse into the frustration and desperation of an adolescent girl (very well played by Stefanee Martin) seeking connection in a disintegrating household.  Very well staged and directed by Jon Tracey.  Gaetana Caldwell-Smith’s “Andrew Primo” looks into a woman’s discovery that her man is, literally, a machine.  Wth Edith Reiner’s performance as Elaine, it all makes sense.  Lesbian honeymooners on a camping trip are “Fighting for Survival” against all intruders—men, bears, nude dancers, a thunderstorm.  Lucas Hatton’s over-the-top stint as a hapless campground-census taker brought the evening’s richest laughter.  Dylan Brody’s “PreOccupy Hollywood” takes us to the staging room of a group of movie extras hoping for a shot at the bigger time.

For all that this new venue adds, something has been taken away—the close-in intimacy of Meadowlands’ black-box narrow hall.   This is particularly noticeable in “Little Moscow” where Rick Roitinger’s estimable portrayal of a Russian Jewish tailor’s reflective monologue to an unseen customer loses much of the potency of Alecks Merilo’s powerful script to the cavernous auditorium.  It is a credit to his performance and physical embodiment of that tailor, that Roitinger transcends the difficulties of giving an outward projection to the thoughts and words of an inwardly-directed character.

Altogether, a great evening’s entertainment right here in San Rafael.  Program Two promises at least as much, if not more.  Premiere Program Two Saturday May 24, 2:00.

For all dates this season, click Fringe Spring 2014

Box office:  Fringe 2014

Review by David Hirzel

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