Friday, August 08, 2008
Fringe/Tiny Feats of Cowardice
Susan Bernfield's mundane fears (of everything) aren't nearly as interesting as the political musings of Rose Mary Woods (from Stretch). However, that makes her latest play exactly what it claims to be: a tiny feat, for Bernfield is captivating throughout, an Everywoman who, aided by Rachel Peters's music (a nice trick that has not yet become a gimmick), denounces single engine Cessnas, the constant worry of being a mother, the neverending precipices of the world and its possibilities: "Stolen passwords/stoned bikers/hungry sharks/malignant cysts." Her narrative jumps from a trip to Belize to her friendless childhood and surprisingly (but not that surprisingly) to 9/11, and the end result comes across like a Sondheim chamber musical, buttressed by charming lines like, "I think, ah, for you my dears, the sky's the limit. Please don't be astronauts." Daniella Topol, who directs, could help Bernfield a lot by helping to vary the levels of fluttery yet functional fear, but on the whole, it's a very winning performance, and a very winning play. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "My fears were completely justified," and 5 being "Frighteningly good," Tiny Feats of Cowardice gets a 4.