Friday, August 1, 2014

Fringe Festival: "One Arm"

Day: 1

Show: 1

Title: One Arm

Category: Drama

By: Perestroika Theater Project

Written by: Tennessee Williams

Location: Southern Theater

Summary: An adaptation of a Tennessee Williams unproduced screenplay, in which a young boxer loses his arm and his identity, and turns to prostitution to survive.

Highlights: Like most Tennessee Williams plays, this one is a heart-breaker, full of tragic characters leading lives of despair. Ollie's (a compelling Bryan Porter) life is full of promise as a champion boxer until he loses an arm in an accident that kills two of his friends. Suffering from survivor's guilt and loss of identity, he falls into a life of hustling, traveling around the country to get by, not feeling anything. Until he ends up on death row, when the feelings come flooding back. The excellent supporting cast plays many well-defined characters in a series of perfect two-person scenes, including two of the tragic women that Williams writes so well (Aeysha Kinnunen), a well-to-do John (David Coral), and a seminary student visiting Ollie in prison (Adam Qualls). This is a fairly elaborate set for a Fringe show; it's clever and effective with a square made of pipes defining the small rooms, that can be lifted up and moved around to create a boxing ring or terrace or ship. One Arm is beautifully written, directed (by Joseph Stodola), and acted, and feels like a full and complete story despite it's under 60-minute run time. This moving portrait of a beautifully tragic character and the equally tragic people he meets is completely absorbing, an extremely professional and well done Fringe show, and a must-see for anyone who likes good quality drama in their Fringe.