FringeNYC report: Day 6—Short takes
Time flies when you’re sitting in a dark theater. It’s only Wednesday, almost a full week of Fringe has passed, and the buzz is ratcheting up from hum to rumble. The lines are getting longer, the “sold out” board at FringeCENTRAL is growing larger, and more time theatergoers are comparing notes with total strangers stuck in the same long line outside shows. Lest you think I’ve been resting on my Fringe laurels, the next couple days will feature short takes on shows I’ve been seeing but haven’t had a chance to drop a line about yet. Got a recommendation of your own? Tweet me @enkohl!
The F*cking World According to Molly focuses on Molly “Equality” Dykeman (Andrea Alton), a hard-living, smack-talking, public-school-security-guard-cum-poetess making her poetry reading debut at Venue 16, The Players Theatre. Molly loves “all ladies,” nachos, and her first power saw, doesn’t care much for men (“I don’t like spending time with people I don’t want to fuck.”), hates her job, perhaps for the same reason, and definitely hates her “miserable” ex, ditto. Her raunchy poems and pick-up lines are almost indistinguishable from each other, one wistful ode begins with the line “I want to stick my face in your vagina,” but gradually Molly’s vulnerable side does creep out for a cameo appearance or two, leavening her schtick with unexpected sweetness. PC Molly isn’t, but uncompromisingly direct she is, and ultimately isn’t that the preferable vice?
Moshe Feldstein, Icon of Self-Realization at Venue 18, The Studio at Cherry Lane Theatre, is ostensibly presented also as a poetry reading, but Moshe (Alexander Nemser) is no presumptive open-mic circuit poet. His stream-of-consciousness rant spools outward in a tangle of imaginary scenarios and vivid metaphors. Only when pausing to read his “fan” mail (“I followed your advice, and now I’m a ghost. I guess we can talk about it in the afterlife.”) does the advertised “charlatan rabbi trickster” promised in the program rise to the surface of an otherwise murky pool of words. There’s a lot of material packed into this short, intensely verbal screed, but a linear narrative is not one of them.
Nils’ Fucked Up Day not only doesn’t bother with the nicety of an asterisk, it dispenses with niceties altogether. Banned for several years in its native Romania, the play is receiving its U.S. debut at Venue 5, Dixon Place, after having been partially rewritten into English by playwright Peca Ştefan. After a shaky intro Nils (Radu Iacoban) and his shiftless pal Hans (Catalin Babliuc) waste the better part of a day on Nils’ crappy couch, doing drugs, lusting after Nils’ hot lesbian roommates, and arguing over pop culture minutiae. Combining obscene dialogue with third wave existential rumination, meta-referential staging, and nihilistic destruction, Nils is a perfect example of a truly Fringe show—uncompromised, uncategorizeable, and unforgettable, with little access to the usual channels and no particular sphere of influence, save fearlessness. Ends on August 22, so you may want to check it out now.
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