THE PAWNBROKER & THE LOST ONES
August 12, 2014
had the opportunity to see two Fringe shows this past Saturday – The Pawnbroker, running at 64 E. 4th Street Underground – The Paradise Factory and The Lost Ones, at the Flamboyen Theatre. They were an interesting contrast and a fairly reasonable snapshot of what the NYC Fringe offers to audiences.
The Pawnbroker, written and performed by Katelin Wilcox, is a one-woman show that looks at the women in playwright Bertolt Brecht’s life. Some of them were professional collaborators, some were his wives, all were his lovers, and all of them were forever changed by their relationship with the German playwright. It’s a smart show that makes you reconsider what we know about Brecht and puts the idea of “behind every good man stands a great woman” in a stark new light.
Wilcox shows us what these women risked, gained, and lost by being involved with Brecht. Under the able direction of Jennifer Curfman, the play is an economy of movement and design, which suits its intimate venue perfectly. It’s a Fringe must-see, especially for anyone who thinks they know Brecht and his work.
The Lost Ones, an ensemble created piece presented by Excavation Theater Company, is an ambitious play that follows seven characters meeting at a rustic cabin for a reunion – with a twist that keeps turning and turning. The show is the stuff that the Fringe is ideal for – the company chose the actors, set the dates, and sold tickets and only then created the show as a working ensemble. It’s a bold experiment that works, but only to a degree.
The story is compelling, there is some fine acting work (especially Susan McBrien as Judith and Dev Meenagh as Alex), and a smart and simple stage design. The show suffers, however, from poor transitions between scenes and the roughness of the script. Overall, it’s an ok show that could be really great with a little judicious editing of the script and clearer directing . Given its origins, it’s impressive that it works as well as it does.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Kelly Johnston