FISHBOWL: Quite a catch

INOLA ON THE AISLE @ The First Annual MITF: FALL
Jewel Box Theatre @ Workshop Theatre Company
312West 36th Street, 4nd Floor, New York, NY
On Tuesday, November 03, 2015

fishbow “Fishbowl” by Ashley Nicole Audette, directed by Ashley Nicole Audette; starring Chris Charles, Leigh Corner, Matthew Mauer, Emily Seymour, and Melissa Porcano.

The performance begins with two women on stage, and the audience realizes quickly that their trip is one of grief through a tragedy. The women are Caroline, the movie star and Autumn, her friend and assistant who carters to her every need. A guy enters the stage and he gets into an argument with his sister. It’s not a happy family reunion. Their sibling Amy died from a drug-related death, and the brother, Christian, accuses her of assisting in their sister’s death. All of them left the stage.

The doorbell rings. Someone is at the door. Caroline’s old flame enters. Autumn greets him at the door. He’s there to pay his respect to the family, and he wants to rekindle his relationship with his ex-lover. He wants to kill two birds with one stone, if he gets the opportunity. Caroline’s and Christian’s mother, Mrs. Lucas, enters and leave the stage quickly. Her presence generates an interest in the audience’s mind. However, Caroline’s former lover wants answers from Caroline, and she doesn’t intend to comply; but he is persistent in his line of questioning. Both of them reminisce briefly about their childhoods and the problems they experienced together. She recalls having a broken leg at the age of thirteen after he calls her by her pet name. Caroline doesn’t appreciate being called CeCe. She reminds him that her name is Caroline Lucas. Caroline’s ex-lover misses her and he wants to talk with her.

Soon after, Caroline brings him up to speed about her career, and she informs him that she is an actress with obligation. Making movies and other opportunities are the only things on Caroline’s radar. She’s not interest in a relationship! This doesn’t deter the guy from wanting to be with her.

Christian wants to make up with Autumn. They were an item in the past. She is reluctant to believe him. He uses some very smooth lines, dialogue, to entice her into believing what he is saying. “You were, you’re the perfect woman for me.” How many women out there would love to hear words like these? Both of them dated other people, but the audience thinks that the death of his sister, Amy, brings home a reality check for Christian. Both Christian and Autumn are still in pain through their failed relationship, and they leave the stage.

The audience gets a view of Mrs. Lucas as she passes through. Next, Caroline enters and she leaves within two minutes on stage. However, there are some awkward moments on stage. The Lucas’ household is a keg of dynamite getting ready to explore. Caroline talks about her mother’s drinking, and she gets the feedback of a life time. As the saying goes, “Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones.”

Caroline’s mom, Mrs. Lucas, wants her bottle of alcohol, and it’s nowhere to be found. She comments that Caroline likes to play games with other people. Caroline’s past comes to light in her face. She gets a reminder of what she said when she handed over a plate of drugs, and she said that they must pick their poison. Her deceased sister, Amy, was one of the recipients of that plate of drugs; and she was never able to shake the strong hold that illegal drugs have on some people.

Caroline’s ex-boyfriend tries to cheer her up. She reminds him of a valuable lesson in life, and she states that their love wasn’t enough to save their relationship. Caroline tries to avoid the real confrontation with the guy, her ex-boyfriend. She gives him a lying excuses and she kisses him. Autumn takes care of Caroline and the activities in the Lucas’ household continue to be eventful.

Autumn and Mrs. Lucas share a bonding moment together. Mrs. Lucas offers her a small bottle of liquor. Mrs. Lucas tells her to be there for her children. They exchange pleasantries between them. Autumn gives the liquor back to Mrs. Lucas.

Caroline seems remorseful to the audience over her sister’s death. Her ex-boyfriend tries to be strong for her. He tells her that her sister is dead because she made a bad choice. Caroline was able to stop taking drugs, but Amy continued to take drugs until her untimely death. Caroline lies on the floor and her ex-boyfriend lies next to her. Autumn sees them on the floor, and Caroline apologizes to her. She tells Caroline that she needs to find her brother, Christian. Caroline tells her ex-boyfriend to look for him.

Mrs. Lucas brings a bottle of liquor to the stage, and she praises Autumn to Caroline for taking her advice to go to California with her. Bits and pieces of information begin to flow from Mrs. Lucas’ mouth before Caroline’s ex returns to the Lucas’ home. It is told that Christian misses his own sister’s funeral. Caroline ex-boyfriend tells her that Christian and Autumn have a thing for each other. Caroline becomes apprehensive about this titbit of information. In her mind, she can lose her brother and her best friend if they get together.

Eventually, Christian shows up at the Lucas’ home. Autumn is on stage with a book in her hand, and Christian enters and he demands to have a meaningful conversation with Autumn. He explains himself to her, and his words sent her back in time. Autumn remembers everything. She tells Christian that she was pregnant and he wanted her to abort the baby. Christian is dumbfounded by Autumn’s news. He is furious with his sister for lying to Autumn and manipulating her into aborting their baby.

Within seconds, Caroline and her ex-boyfriend walk on stage. The audience realizes that she didn’t want her brother and Autumn to be together as a couple. Autumn tries to hit Caroline, and she has to defend her actions to everyone. Mrs. Lucas tells everyone that Caroline is a leach, and how she uses people. She is a great manipulator! Her deception catches up with her, and everyone present after the bombshell leave the premises except Caroline and Mrs. Lucas. Christian and Autumn get together as a couple. In their case, it is better to be late than never.

Mrs. Lucas and Caroline spend some quality time together. Mrs. Lucas and her daughter bond over a drink, and she talks candidly about her short comings as a mother. Her short comings has helped Caroline to become the manipulator as she has been throughout her life. Caroline’s ex returns to the Lucas’ home because he wants to share his life with Caroline. She is shocked by his return, and she decides to make a go at their relationship. Before she leaves, she severs the dysfunctional bond between her and her mother. A few chosen words were said between both women, and Mrs. Lucas leaves the stage with her bottle.

The writer’s message to the audience gives credence to the word dysfunctional in the family dynamics. This is a very important play for theatre goers to see and enjoy at the same time. There is a lesson to be learned in our society that our sins can surely live on after us. In addition, one cannot reinvent the wheel and try to change his or her DNA. It is like saying that a leopard has to change his spots. Just be the best person you can be within the boundaries of truth. Running from oneself, can only lead to heartache and a sense of falsehood. It is best to be in your own fishbowl with clear water. Being transparent and predictable can’t be that bad!

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