My first experience with this year’s
Fringe Festival, FAINT, is the kind of play that I have always felt
the Fringe was meant to showcase. In theory, with rather quirky, spare
production values, and a script that needs tweaking, but shows a lot of
promise, FAINT finds a comfy home, flaws and all, as a Festival
However on the Fringe FAINT is
however, it must be said that in the larger arena of cohesive theater, it
comes across as a series of scenes, social attitudes, ideas, and talented
actors desperately in search of a unifying thread. In other words, the plot
comes undone, and the disparate parts never mesh.
Set in a world where there is always a
bill or a lawyer named Bill, and they enter the scene ready to take your
life as payment for services rendered, FAINT appears to attempt to
tell the tale of Jeromy, the circus he owns, and the omnipresence of
smallpox, death and betrayal. The circus (an indentured servant in the form
of a Native American) apparently makes Jeromy a lot of money. His
grandmother is senile, his girlfriend is diagnosed with cancer after being
injected by a door-to-door smallpox vaccine salesman, and he is often called
to the undertaker’s office to make purchases for loved ones long before they
are gone. Got it? Me too!
For the oddities, the play has the benefit
of solid acting talent that, with minor exceptions, handles the material
well. Jess Osuna tackles the piece with the ease of the stage veteran he is.
Devon Berkshire, in an abbreviated appearance, does her best to make her
time matter. Robert Funaro, while lacking the projected voice required, is
wily. Ernest Mingione is steely and directed. You get the point.
as "Part family tragedy, part vicious satire…" is a portrait of lives on the
edge of reality, set in a place I would never want to be.
- Kessa De Santis -