My Review of PAINTING HIS WINGS
The New York International Fringe Festival
The Kraine Theatre
85 East 4th Street, New York, NY
On Thursday, August 20, 2015
by Inola M. McGuire
The audience sees a table and four chairs on one side of the stage and a make-shift bed with a comforter and pillow on the other side. However, the set design with the help of technology takes the audience into another universe during the performance. At the beginning, Abellona spends her time on stage with her finger-puppet wearing as she speaks directly to the audience for a brief moment before she disappears from its view. Christopher enters and he makes himself busy on stage with his own activities.
Abellona returns and she joins Christopher with their partaking of doing childish things by using paint in small cans and brushes to paint objects, hanging a bird on a string, and painting the replica of wings. Their encounters are within specific scenes because the parents participate in their telling of the story too. The audience sees Willa, the mother, as she returns home with bags of groceries. She calls Abellona’s name without any response from her, and she lets herself into their home. Soon after, Abellona appears with a book in her hand. She puts the book down for a few minutes, and her mother picks up the book and she glances through the pages very quickly without being seen by Abellona.
It laundry time for the household, and Willa gets her clothes together for the chore. She orders Abellona to bring out her dirty laundry. Abellona complies and the audience sees her with her laundry basket. Willa tells Abellona to take off a layer of underclothing on stage, and the mother and the daughter leave the stage together with their dirty laundry.
In the next scene, the audience sees Paul on his way home. He rings the door bell for someone to let him into his home. No one comes to his assistance at the door, and he searches for his keys in his bag. He stays on the outside of his home for a brief moment before he lets himself in without the key, and he leaves his bag behind. This forces Christopher to take Paul’s belongings inside the home.
Abellona’s continued performance warrants the audience’s attention with a body of water in the backdrop before she leaves the stage. Next, Willa appears and she sits on the bed with her laptop. Her interaction with an on-line character changes the mood of the act as she seeks solace from a stranger on a few occasions. However, there were other on-stage activities that stimulate the audience. Most noticeably, the family plays a board game together with Christopher being absent from the table. Abellona’s gets a nightmarish dream in bed and her mother tries to comfort her along with her father. Afterward, Christopher’s character appears with angelic wings and Abellona notices the changes in his wings. She goes back to the bed to be comforted by her parents.
The writer surely gets her message across to the audience because the reference of the laundry represents something in the life of the family. In addition, the wings represent mobility for some; and the cage symbolizes the inability to fly for others. This is a must-see performance and without doubt the audience gets the opportunity to reflect on its own life.