BWW Review: AMERICAN FABLES at HERE
In Eric Fallen's timely AMERICAN FABLES, all is fair in love and war as battle lines are drawn in five taut morality tales.
With the clock ticking, Director Clark Morgan and his cast establish binary opposition immediately in each scene, raising the stakes along with the audience's expectations. They deliver consistently; from a park bench to the Pentagon, seemingly simple conversation threads twist into knotty misunderstandings rife with desire, suspicion and violence.
Designed by Matt Silvester, the show poster's cat/mouse counterpoise alludes to the power dynamic driving the five loosely connected tragicomic scenes.
Each short play is distinct creatively, and they all cohere thematically. A minimalist set focuses our attention on these binary conflicts:
In Perfect Weather, a stiff-postured woman in black (Irene Gezos) engages Jim (Kerry Malloy) in some seemingly innocuous conversation as he enjoys a sandwich in the park. Their little talk about the weather leads to some big questions.
The topic of truth seeking continues in Paradise, which lays bare the relationship between an interrogator, Amir (Christopher Tramantana) and his foreign subject, Sami (Matt W. Cody). Suspicion and cultural differences intersect with human desire to reach a wince-inducing pain point.
Friendly Fire pushes Mrs. Ross (a grieving mother played by Tricia Alexandro) to the emotional edge as she demands from Hoff (David King) the truth surrounding her son's death in combat. The bureaucratic barrier of paperwork in the Pentagon office brings her to a realization that is heart-wrenching to watch.
After the FBI raids the office of Sean, a powerful lawyer (Eric Kirchberger) in The Fixer, fixer Ben Gold (Malloy) arrives with his uniquely "hands on" American brand of modern damage control.
Sean: "What's your point?"
Ben: "There's no point. I'm just clarifying that we have a ritual."
Sean: "Fine. We have a ritual."
Ben: "It is bad luck to alter a ritual. Rituals are sacred."
The dialogue between Sean and Ben reflects the caliber of communication that Fallen employs in FABLES, letting the audience fill in the blanks.
Finally, Basic Plumbing pits an uptight librarian (Cody) against a patron (Alexandros) who makes challenging policy a very personal matter.
At an hour long, the economical show both benefits from and is limited by its urgency. Not a fan of a particular scene? No worries; another topical fable is just a few minutes away.
AMERICAN FABLES was at HERE from October 10-20th.
Photos: Eric Fallen