Fringe: Candide Americana: Optimism
Nothing ages so badly as satire. The original Candide, ou l'Optimisme was a philosophical comic novel written by Voltaire in 1759, which mocked the Leibnizian idea that we live in "The best of all possible worlds". Candide goes through progressively worsening situations while holding to the optimistic teachings of his tutor Pangloss. The original, though still amusing, has lost some of the power it must have originally possessed for those who experienced firsthand the events and places satirized. Stanton Wood restores that vitality for modern audiences in his adaptation Candide Americana, by transplanting Our Hero from a stereotyped Europe into modern America, with all the peripeteia of the plot finding modern analogues, including New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and New York City on September 11th. It's a genius idea, executed wonderfully and hilariously.
The cast, under the direction of Edward Elefterion, is great, working as a unified whole, then stepping out to play various roles. Josh Sauerman is a perfect Candide, perpetually confused by the terrible happenings around him, and sure that things will work out. Lauren Murphy is a delight as Cinnabonson, Candide's frequently-abducted ladylove. Arthur Aulisi (a frequent collaborator with Rabbit Hole) is very funny as Pangloss. Lora Chio has some nice moments as the Old Woman. Amanda Broomell is great as the competing philosopher Martina, Damon Pooser has a ball as Carlos, an escaped prisoner, Emily Hartford is very nice as the slutty Paquette.
It's a hilarious and thoughtful play, well worth a look.
Produced by Rabbit Hole Ensemble
Directed by Edward Elefterion
FringeNYC Venue #2
At The Flamboyan Theatre at the CSV Cultural and Educational Center
107 Suffolk Street (btwn. Rivington & Delancey)
Train: F to Delancey, J/M to Essex
Wednesday, August 19 - 6:00p
Saturday, August 22 - NOON
Sunday, August 23 - 10:15p
Friday, August 28 - 9:30p
Sunday, August 30 - 4:45p