If you ever enjoyed the “fractured fairy tales” on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show as a child, here’s an adult version that tells the story of five classic romances in a creative and entertaining way. Each of the five stories work individually; together, they provide a rich palette of the consequences and impact of love in tragic settings.
Playwright Andrea Stolowitz frames the work using a modern teenager version of the Romeo and Juliet story told with interlocking monologues by Dave Coyne and Hilary Kacser. Interspersed with those scenes are four additional monologues. Kacser tells the story of Cinderella (a variation from the viewpoint of a sister Lisé, looking back with regretful reminiscing) and Glauce (Jason of Corinth’s intended after he abandons a vengeful Medea). Coyne tells the story of Agamemnon’s love for his daughter Iphigenia (despite sacrificing her to facilitate the Trojan War expedition) and King Mark, whose love for both Tristan and Isolde blinds him to the true nature of their relationship.
Both Coyne and Kacser give superlative and heartfelt acting performances. Coyne’s finest moments come as an agonized Agamemnon at the end of the Trojan War attempts to explain and rationalize his actions towards his beloved daughter. Kacser shines brightest in the two stories in which the love may be “worth it”, showing a Glauce who blossoms in self-worth once Jason chooses her for a bride and a high school Juliet whose love for Romeo ends the play on a surprisingly warm note.
The monologues are powerful and captivating. The Romeo and Juliet excerpts are especially satisfying due to Stolowitz’s keen ear for teen dialogue and her wit in adapting the story to a contemporary setting. Director Jessica Lefkow helps the two actors relate to each other even without direct dialogue, and helps the other monologues work smoothly while performed in the round.
Even if you lack a particular interest in these classic stories, this production works on every level. Tales of Doomed Love is one of the finest entries in the 2008 Capital Fringe Festival.
- Running Time: 70 minutes
- Tickets: Tales of Doomed Love (or is it ever worth it?)
- Remaining Shows: Sat, July 26 at 6:30 . Sun July 27 at 2
- Where: Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street, NW