As an independently produced Fringe show, The Viking and the Gazelle did not have to adhere to Fringe rules, and from what I've heard (I didn't see it) was about 90 minutes long. They've since added an intermission for a total two-hour runtime, but it could be tightened up to 90 minutes no intermission (my and Jack Reuler's four favorite words in theater) that might better serve the story. The scenic design (by Laura Laillencourt) serves the story well, with Robert's chic and modern apartment on one side, Michelle's warm and cozy living room on the other, and a dining area space in the middle that functions as various locations both in the homes and outside of them.
|Michelle (Pascha Fountain) and Robert (Gabriele Angieri)|
with Aunt Lisa (Laura Esping, photo by Bruce Silcox)
Directed by Shá Cage and E.G. Bailey, the play does include some powerful moments that effectively illustrate the issues at play, particularly Karsen's monologue about his fear for the safety of himself, his son, and his father as black men living in this world, and Michelle's need for a black space to feel safe and comfortable in her skin (a fact Robert never quite seems to grasp from his place of privilege). And the conflict between wanting to hold on to one's culture while dating, marrying, or starting a family with someone from a different culture feels real. But there's also a lot of unpleasant one-sided rhetoric that's hard to listen to. Maybe that's the point, I'm just not sure it really adds anything new to the conversation.
The Viking and the Gazelle continues through December 15 at Mixed Blood Theatre.