This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.
By Wendy Carson
Despite the show’s bizarre title, and being produced by locally-renowned troupe, No Exit — purveyors of edgy material and unique productions — this show is delightfully accessible to the average audience. The inclusion of a Sign Language interpreter ensures no one will be unable to experience this spectacle.
The actors involved, however, are costumed more like characters from a Doctor Seuss book but that is just to emphasize the absurdity intended by the source material.
We are directed to peruse our “Menu” and are served up a two- or three-course meal of monologues and sketches that changes for each performance. The offerings are shortened works by renowned European playwright Dario Fo and partner Franca Rame. These are portrayals of situations that, although exaggerated, still present political systems, social context, and somewhat ordinary situations that the audience can easily identify with.
In “A Woman Alone” we meet a harried wife (Carrie Bennett) who has a lot on her plate. Between a creepy and demanding brother-in-law, her baby, an abusive husband, perverted intrusions and a persistent young lover she is just trying to keep up with everyone’s demands for her time while staying somewhat sane.
“Waking Up” shows us a portrait of a woman (Andriana Zermeno) who is at her wits end coordinating her work, baby (A.M. Elliott), and husband. Her struggle to remember where she left her key offers great insight in discovering how she has become the mess we are presented with.
The final story, “Monologue of a Whore in a Lunatic Asylum” is presented almost entirely without words but relays the trials and tribulations of women whose voices were rarely heard anyway. Anastasia N. Greenberg gives a stunning performance in the title role while Elliott and Bennett embody the cold indifference of the Doctors responsible for her “care”. Zermeno makes a tiny cameo as an escaped patient witnessing the end of this tragic tale.
Again, I urge you to not be put off by the irreverent title or cartoonish look of the show. Remember, satire is meant to be exaggerated and missing these important scenes from our history is the way to realize how far women have come and how much further we have yet to go.
Performances are today through Saturday (Aug. 17-24) at The Oasis at the Murat Shrine (go in the Shriner entrance on the north side of the building, 502 N. New Jersey).