Thursday, February 4, 2010

Theater Review: The Average Sized Mermaid

By Beau

Last night I attending  "The Average-Sized Mermaid" at the Gene Frankel Theater, an off-off way production produced by State of Play.  This show started as a one-act play at UC Santa Barbara's New Plays Festival and has evolved into the current two act show now in previews.
A bit about the show after the jump

I never know what I'm going to get with off-off Broadway so I go in with no expectations to help mitigate the disappointment that so often comes with these shows.  To my surprise, this show was fairly well acted and fulfilled the romantic comedy description.  Essentially a modern, Feminist twist on the story of "Little Mermaid", the story centers on a kindergarten teacher who in the midst of having her heart-broken turns into a Mermaid and the publicity she seeks afterwards while trying to stick it to her cheating boyfriend and unknowingly falling in love with her good friend at the same time.

The lead male, Seth Andrew Bridges, was the real breakout for me.  He had great delivery, comic timing and was entertaining to watch every time he was on stage which was most of the scenes.  Michelle Concha did fine as the lead female and could sub for a wheel-chaired, tailed Harlot in Bette M's show without any trouble.  The supporting cast who all played multiple roles to flesh out the production did a fine job to support the two leads.  Overall, the cast was a bit too young to pull off the supposed maturity of the characters but again, I didn't come to the show with any expectations and took it all in stride for these working actors.  On the plus side, one of the cast was a bearded, ginger cub so that is always a plus in my book.

The story itself left me a little perplexed and I could not tell if it was confusing because of metaphors wrapped inside other metaphors or if my antihistamines had kicked in and I was just generally foggy.  The pre-mermaid narrative about how the actual "Little Mermaid" story was a direct assault on the subjugation and sexual-backseating of women in general started throwing out lots of talk about vaginas, closed up oysters, and Hans Christian Anderson's use of the soul to substitute for ejaculate which was a lot of dialogue in a short period of time.  Most of which I just accepted as whatever the playwright was saying rather than work through the logic. That's how I got through the entire play and ended up walking out not exactly knowing the moral other that getting up and dancing can be a metaphor for falling in love.

Overall, it was a nice evening and it reminded me that I should get better connected to off and off-off Broadway theater a bit more since it's one of those New York things that I can't really get any where else.

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