D and A opens on a tense scene, a woman going through some emotional turmoil on a bus after hearing that the father of her child is dead. As she continues, a metal song comes on. The voices in this song were definitively goofy. Taking them outside the context of metal just doesn’t work. It really wasn’t a proper backing for a dramatic monologue.
I shouldn’t have to fight to listen to and appreciate a scene with the content of that one. But that cognitive dissonance is what D and A confronted me with. Over the course of the piece, things certainly didn’t improve.
The protagonist is a woman with a young boy, trying to make it through school. She’s also involved in the metal scene, where she meets some of the great loves of her life. Any description beyond that is difficult. The writer behind this piece is a big fan of “he”, for example, making it extremely difficult to tell one character from another. Add in that the people in the protagonist’s life seem to flit in and out on a whim, with little to no recognition of their comings and goings from the leading lady. There are points where I was honestly questioning whether a character had simply changed his name without us being told. I doubt that’s the case, but I’m not 100 per cent sure.
The writer might think this illusive plot is true to life. Sometimes, especially when a person is young, people can come and go in a flash, especially when you’re involved in any kind of music scene, where connections are made and broken over the course of a night. It no way helps a one-hour performance — it just muddies everything.
You really crave an editor’s pen to go over all of this. The 9/11 interlude near the start that relates to nothing else in the play? Cross that out. The friendships that have no bearing on anything that happens? Those go too. The whole of D and A needs to be slimmed down and clarified. If there’s core to this play, it is completely lost.
Performer Meghan Consenzo projects an air of openness, which is a benefit to D and A. Unfortunately, her acting doesn’t go too far beyond that. She’s not helped by a character who’s required by the script to say that her “world was crashing down” around her seemingly every few minutes, but there’s very little emotional work to her performance besides. Consenzo only acts out the anguished parts; the rest of the story is told a matter of fact.
That said, I’m not sure how much I could expect her to do. The play drops cliches and non sequiturs with no reprieve, trading mostly in awkward theatrical moments.
More, more, more reviews of Regina Fringe Festival shows to come! Aidan Morgan, John Cameron and I all have some more to say, so check back on the Dog Blog. The festival ends Sunday, July 8.