Jofranmir Sierra at the Fresh Fruit Festival
THE HISTORY OF LOVE: One-Acts with a Historical Bent
Damn Fool – enthralling
Village Orpheus – confusing
… and Wretch was brusk
“Damn fool” was a very inspirational play that portrays not only homosexual love but also biracial love between two women locked up in jail cell in a non-modern society. As the two thinks of solutions on how to get out of the mess, the African-American girl informs us of white supremacy. Although the two have been equal in their wronging – according to dubious societal norms – a black lesbian would get in far more trouble that a white girl whose father is a Sherriff. The white girl has lessons to learn about truth and how far one must go for love. The strength of Hattie and Anna’s relationship was evident in script and performance. The depth of their performance opened a door to understanding felt by the audience. The hopeless romantic in me almost wanted them to be lovers. Starting off, Anna’s character seemed to be so frail and fragile with the way she panicked and denied her love for Hattie. She was ashamed but then took a wild turn when she revealed her true self and stood up to her big sister who’s been trying to convince her to be something that she isn’t, and her father (the sheriff) who is stereotypically strict. She went from fear to fierce which was very empowering to see. Hattie, on the other hand, was a free, opinionated black girl who knew exactly what the results of her dalliance would be. Throughout the play it took a toll on her to put her pride aside and seek help from lover.
Really excellent piece. I enjoyed it, learned from it, and made me think. Mission Accomplished. I’d see it again … and maybe again … and …
Wretch and Village Orpheus however, tried too hard to be topical.
Wretch concerned a girl contemplating suicide. This parable about bullying and body-shaming didn’t hit its mark. Suicide and the reasons for it must be handled delicately and Wretch was too heavy handed and trying too hard. The potential was huge but the heavy-handed theatricality seemed to hurt the topic more than help. Her pill-popping during a musical number was reminiscent of Mabel’s Tap Your Troubles Away in Mack and Mabel, which also didn’t seem to connect the topic to the stage craft. Sound issues didn’t help matters either.
Village Orpheus is based on homosexual lovers and artists. The cast was passionate, committed and enthusiastic, but the meaning was confusing and felt forced. The strange staging and character choices – while fascinating – seemed to go nowhere. Sitting back, the production was humorous at times, but I just didn’t get it.