It’s delightful that Capital Fringe has its own dedicated, permanent theater spaces these days—because it’s the perfect place to take in an innovative, avant-garde arthouse-style show like POP Private.
Fringe Pop Privates consists of four 10-minute plays and four equally short films (two each on both sides of an intermission) that explore interpersonal relationships from many angles as they develop in both public and private spaces. It’s not without its individual weak spots, but as a whole, this is a well-crafted, intimate experience that caters in no small way to a knowledgeable and local audience.
“POP” stands for “performance over projection,” and that refers not just to the combination of short films and plays, but also to the medium of the plays themselves. The backdrop is provided not with a set, but usually by a film depicting the ambiance of the restaurant in which the action is taking place—and sometimes by a live cameraman whose feed of the performers and audience is projected live into the screen. Capital Fringe Festival fans will no doubt take particular note that local haunt Dangerously Delicious Pies is the venue for the first two plays in the performance. For the most part, the live plays are stronger than the films, and the second play in each half of the production especially so.
Fringe POP Private
closes October 9, 2016
Details and tickets
Surprise depicts a delightfully comic scene between a psychic (Jordan Friend) and the woman he knows is about to dump him (Ruthie Rado), with the waitress at Dangerously Delicious (Tiffany Byrd) ready to move in on the newly single man. The same three actors are featured in the show’s first play, but the comedy seems to suit them much better. The interaction between Friends’ bemused resignation and Rado’s pent-up frustration worked perfectly.
Our Place is a sadder scene of a middle-aged woman (Cam Magee) out at dinner with her husband, (Nick Torres) who is stricken with dementia. She has taken him out to their favorite restaurant in the hopes of re-establishing a connection and getting him to enjoy life for a moment, but with only some success. The relationship between Torres and Magee feels authentic and sincere, and Torres’ depiction of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s is almost uncomfortably accurate.
Unfortunately, the short films aren’t quite as memorable. Venice, which shows a scene of a deadbeat son asking his wealthy mother for money over Skype, is perhaps the best of the bunch. While the films do contribute aesthetically and thematically, in some spots they almost feel like an interruption of the live theater that makes the entire show worth the price of admission.
All in all, it’s a well-made show with thematic coherence, a creative concept, mostly good scripts, and solid performances. It’s definitely worth a venture out Northeast, especially if you’re a Fringe fan to begin with.
Fringe Pop Privates . Directors: Ty Hallmark for Good As I Been to You and Fully Present and Quill Nebeker for Our Place and Surprise. View more writer and actor credits here. Art Direction: Julianne Brienza . Producer 10-Minute Play Curator: Lee Cromwell . Film Curator / Filmmaker Panoramas: Jon Gann . Live Video Design: Robin Bell . Cameraman: Adrian Parsons . Stage Manager: Charles Lasky . Lighting Design: Colin Deick . Set / Space Build: Sun King Davis . , Produced by Capital Fringe . Reviewed by Dante Atkins.