Friday, August 5, 2011

Fringe Festival: "Recovery" by Mike Loretta Productions at the Gremlin Theatre

The reason that I chose to see this Fringe show is that it was playing right after another show I wanted to see at the same theater.  I figured as long as I was braving the horrendous construction on University to get the Gremlin Theatre, I might as well stay for another show.  Not a bad reason in this jam-packed festival.  But it wasn't the only reason; the description of the show looked interesting, and it features a group of artists from my second favorite theater town - New York City.  I'm glad I went.  I found it to be moving and funny and poignant.

Recovery tells the story of two leukemia patients who meet in chemotherapy.  They both have had difficult lives before the cancer, losing a spouse in different, difficult ways.  Jason Emanual is Michael, who learned he had cancer when he was hospitalized after a car accident.  He had stepped into traffic in an attempt to kill himself after his wife left him.  He's struggling with being alone and trying to find his place in life.  He finds a kindred spirit in Katheen (Sarah Kanter), whose husband was killed in a car accident.  She pushes Michael away at first, not wanting to get tied up in a relationship while she's fighting for her life.  But eventually she comes to realize that even though they know life is going to end, it's better to go through it together while they still can.

Michael and Kathleen's doctor has issues of his own - his wife is mentally unstable and he's having an affair with the spunky nurse, who is also a cancer survivor.  With her fiery red hair and bright red lipstick, Lucille is the spark of life in the otherwise sad and dreary hospital.

The play is beautifully acted and beautifully written (by Mark Jason Williams), with just about every character delivering long soliloquies to the audience.  The show was a nice complement to the previous show (the light and fun Duties and Responsibilites of Being a Sidekick).  Much heavier and thoughtful, but in a good way.  At times funny, Recovery is a poignant and thoughtful exploration of life and death, relationships, and hope.

Day One of my Fringe Festival experience was a success.

See all of my Fringe reviews.