Friday, August 11, 2017

Fringe Festival 2017: "The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox"

Day: 8

Show: 31

Category: Drama

By: The Winding Sheet Outfit

Written by: The Winding Sheet Outfit

Location: U of M Rarig Center Arena

Summary: The Fox sisters, founders of Spiritualism, tell their story.

Highlights: This is a haunting and beautiful show, the cause of my first tears actually shed at the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival (it's not Fringe without at least a few tears). The Arena space is set up like a seance circle of empty frames and candles, and with overflow seating (this show is selling out so reserve in advance), people were seated on the floor just outside the circle so it really felt like we were conjuring something together. Maggie and Katy Fox (Boo Segersin and Kayla Dvorak Feld playing the charming and precocious younger versions, Kristina Fjellman and Megan Campbell Lagas playing the older and sadder versions) are directed to tell their story, even the painful parts. They walk us through the joy and pain of their careers as mediums, from their initial discovery, to scientific evaluations by doubters, to eventually confessing to fraud. This is a very thoughtful, detailed piece down to the period clothing in stark white and black and the charming but creepy soundtrack created by a number of instruments and noisemakers. The wonderful and believable cast (also including director Amber Bork) sings some gorgeous harmonies on traditional songs like "In the Gloaming" (responsible for the aforementioned tears). In the world of the play, the sisters truly believed in what they were doing, and confessed only because they were forced to. Who knows what the truth is, but it's comforting to believe that those we love are still with us even after death. Regardless of what you (or they) believe, this is a mystical, magical hour of theater, storytelling, and music.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.