The ABC TRILOGY: Cantata #40, The Avignon Affair, and Bunny Beware at the S.F Fringe Festival
Linda Ayres-Frederick’s spring 2012 Fringe of Marin first place award winner Cantata #40 symbolizes a deliverance for an American teenager crossing the Berlin Wall to perform in a student concert in the summer in 1964. Frederick’s heart wrenching memoirs depict a young Jewish girl face to face with German student guides who attempt to manipulate her into crossing the wall with her to free themselves. Bidding her student guides goodbye, she hurries to the Berlin Wall checkpoint to recuperate her passport. Upon hearing the opening notes of Bach’s Cantata #40 she is thankful for her freedom. In the piece, expertly directed by Linda Ayres-Frederick, Heidi Wolff portrays the naïve, vulnerable, and innocent teenager with charisma.
The Avignon Affair depicts an encounter in a train in France of a young American woman (Heidi Wolff) with an older French gentleman (played by Dennis McIntyre utilizing an authentic French accent). The young woman, who reveals she is going to visit a cemetery where her Jewish ancestors were buried, at first believes the older man is anti Jewish and later learns his grandmother was buried in the same Jewish cemetery. We are left wondering if having been through the war and occupation he was cautious about admitting his Jewish heritage.
In this short piece McIntyre and Wolff start off with a polite conversation between train passengers that ends on a more intimate and suspenseful note involving racial prejudice.
Bunny Beware is a fantasy play in which an indigenous country woman shelling peas in front of her house rambles on about death that she defies even if she faces sickness. She blabbers on about boiling frogs when she hears a critter and gets up to fetch her shotgun. It’s the Easter Bunny whom she did not ask to come. When she steps inside her house the Bunny uncovers his mask to reveal a skeleton head symbolizing the arrival of death.
Directed by Kimberly Richards, this piece, richly interpreted by Heidi Wolff and Dennis McIntyre, could use more development of the content and the play’s symbolism .
Ms. Ayres-Frederick’s Rhythm Riff for Seven Voices will be presented as part of the Barrish Project at The Fillmore Center, Fillmore at Eddy Streets, SF Oct 27 at 7pm and Oct 28 at 5pm.
Look for more of Ms. Ayres-Frederick’s work in Bay Area Theatres.