The play traffics in existentialism and minimalism. If David Ives had written Waiting for Godot it would have come out a lot like 261.626. Sowalsky’s playfulness is evident most in the ways he toys with words. His twists and turns-of-phrase keep audience members on their toes. The way he flips words on their heads and fiddles with timing and intonation are a joy to listen to. The wordplay (pun intended) and banter provide some of the show’s best moments.
Playfulness is also evident in Elizabeth Darby and Hannah Burkhauser’s joyful performances as Loan and Sum respectively. They seem to really enjoy being on stage, working together, and delivering Sowalsky’s lines. Their performances were not always as effortless as I would have liked, and their timing was not always as perfect as it could have been, but their earnestness and chemistry more than made up. And for the majority of the play, when these issues were non-existent, the two women were quite captivating.
I’d summarize the plot if it had one, but then again, that wasn’t the point. The actors explain to the audience that they are alone in a universe all their own, and it seems to me that, as such, they don’t have to worry about silly details like “story” or “meaning.”
I have written before about what I call “Fringyness”, that indescribable quality of certain shows at Fringe. It takes a show that I might otherwise not notice or care about and makes me laud it. In an environment where the weird is celebrated and the silly is praised, a show like 216 does quite well.