Monday, June 18, 2007

One Thing I Like To Say Is

It is clear almost right from the start that Lina, central in this smart little gem of a new four-character play, is (perhaps defensively) prone to fantasy and flights of imagination: we know immediately not to believe that she grew up with a Scottish butler, even though she tells us she did, and when she says that someone "does not exist" after we've been listening to her tell us all about him, we're put on notice to listen attentively to sort things out for ourselves. The one-act play, written by Amy Fox and presented as the final show in Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks series, vigorously holds the attention from start to finish: it respects that we will intuit where a lesser play would simply tell us flat-out. Essential parts of the story (which is something like a collage of the most important moments between Lina and her brother) never fully concretize into facts. but that's part of what makes the show so interesting and dynamic: the looseness suggests that family history and mythology are open to change, built on memory's slippery slope, and it also honors the power of imagination in the face of painful disappointment and estrangement. As the relationships between the characters come into focus and we get the hang of the distinctively off-kilter and sometimes knowingly funny play (its strong point of view reminded me many times of quirky, intimate first-person novels) the play becomes quietly affecting and finally moving. If I had only one thing to say about One Thing I Like To Say Is, it'd be that if you have a chance to catch it before it closes on June 23rd, you should.

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