Wednesday, August 24, 2011
FRINGE: Whale Song, or: Learning to Live With Mobyphobia
The script's a bit unpolished, particularly with the inclusion of Shep, the "motherfucking" drummer (Jordan Douglas Smith), though that's to be expected, given that Maya hires him as a literal distraction. Maya's boyfriend, Mark (Ryan Feyk), also needs to be less of a pushover -- similar to the way Maya's sister, Sarah (Siri Hellerman), is the voice of reason; Witherspoon's a solid actress, but she's forced to self-generate much her angst. That said, Kiechel nails the ending, as we learn exactly why Maya hates whales so much -- it involves another death in the family -- and why she's so obsessed with stories and significance. In addition, Raimondo's direction is spot on, from the way Maya's thoughts are manifested in shipping boxes that gradually overflow throughout her apartment to the staging of the news segments, which is done behind Maya, so that it looks as if we are seeing her thoughts, rather than what's actually on TV. Credit's also due to Sam Kusnetz's sound design: given that the theme of the play is about finding meaning where you look for it, it helps to have some genuine whale songs echoing through the La MaMa space.