SHOW TITLE: A Series of Absurdities
PRODUCER: Lisandrist Productions
HAILING FROM: Illinois
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl grows up. Cupcakes, cocks, underthings, ukuleles – with just a pinch of existential crisis. A three-woman show fusing sketch comedy, story-telling and performance art.
ME: So what is this show about?
HER: I dunno. It’s, like, a comedy, I guess?
ME: Oh, cool. The sign on the stage is promising.
HER: The Song of Seikilos?
ME: Yeah. That’s, like, the oldest song. Musical notation found on a Greek tomb.
And then the lights went down, and the show started, with the most promising opening that I’ve seen from a Fringe show this year: the three actresses enter, clad in togas, playing and singing the ancient, melancholy, haunting Greek melody. And then the lights start to strobe, a techno beat picks up, and they strip off the togas and begin to rage-dance in their undergarments. That is, like, the quintessential opening to a Fringe show.
The actual show itself was…kind of all over the map. The title of the show is vague, and it turns out to be well-named, because the content is sort of vague and unfocused, too. The vast bulk of it is sort of flash sketch comedy – they flip a series of placards, and do bits short enough that they feel almost like cutaways.
I laughed a handful of times, but for the most part I found these to fall into the SNL structural spiral, where they start out with an amusing premise and then just sort of peter out rather than resolving into a punchline.
They do a handful of heavier monologues – and, wow, do they hit us with a mack truck of them at the end of the show – and while they’re moving in and of themselves, I found myself confused at the role they serve in the show. It would be roughly equivalent to my doing an hour of stand-up, and then in the last five minutes unloading my darkest personal tragedy onto the audience. I’d be very concerned, not just about harshing the mellow, but about trivializing my confession with the context.
They did not seem to share this concern. I’m not saying that it wasn’t affecting, or that the performers don’t have my sympathy – I’m saying that I’m confused as to why it was included here, or what overall effect the show was aiming to achieve.
I was looking for a throughline in the show, something connecting one sequence to another. I should maybe have taken the title at its word – but I just don’t know what the cumulative response I was supposed to have was.
Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!