Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crother Spyglass/The Resistible Rise of Fatlinda Paloka

Although this double-bill from Serenitas Media was open for review, it came across more as a learning experience for both writers and the director, and as a showcase for a few actors struggling to put meat on their bones and meat on their roles. Timothy Dowd writes like a Mamet-in-training: what he needs to work on is his specificity. In Crother Spyglass, Ray Crother (Brendan Wahlers) comes across both as a slick Roma-like salesman and as an insecure Aaronow, and it makes it totally unclear whether he's setting up young Adam (a sheepish Timothy McDonough) and what exactly he wants out of Christine (Erin Leigh Schmoyer), a character who is far too flat to stand up to Ray. (That she does anyway speaks to the artificiality of the plot.) Marcy Wallabout's The Resistable Rise of Fatlinda Paloka is in much better shape: she just needs to reel in her characters a little bit. She's made a nice parable out of the conflict between the homegrown Southerners, Jimmy and Jolene Earp (the hysterically tight Nick Palladino and Siobhan Doherty), and the Paloka clan, who they perceive as loud and obnoxious immigrants, gobbling up their culture and replacing it with pizza (which they're addicted to, complaints not withstanding). But Mrs. Schmoyer goes far too far into a faux-Borat as Fatlinda, and only Mr. McDonough, as the bluegrass-loving Blerim, manages to make the deeper message about cultural acceptance actually stick.

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