Fringeworthy

Hip-Shot: “Tales of Doomed Love…”

Tales of Doomed Love (or is it ever worth it?)
Studio Theatre, Stage Four

Remaining performances:
July 24, 9 p.m.
July 25 at 6 p.m.
July 26 at 6:30
July 27 at 2 p.m.

They say: Funny, biting, and heart wrenching, classic stories turned on their heads ask us if love is really worth all the pain, shining unexpected new light on the answer. The Triangle Independent called Tales... in development "The best original script we saw in this region last year." From veteran Capital Fringe hit-makers.

Ted's take: Funny, strange, and reasonably nimble in its epochal leaps, Tales functions best as a greatest hits compilation. As with any compilation, purists may gripe that "Philomela was underrepresented" or that "they should have included more of Euripides' early stuff"—but there's comfort in the familiar, and even if you can't whistle along with every confessional episode, you can at least tune in and out without fear of losing the frequency.

Your characters? Romeo & Juliet (herein traduced to high school sweethearts); Glauce, Jason's Corinthian replacement for Medea; Agamemnon, daughter-slaughterer at Aulis; Lisé, jilted step-sister to Cinderella; and King Mark, husband to Isolde and occasional dallier with Tristan. The humor? Neat, allusive, and the beneficiary of a consistently light touch. Best moments: Hilary Kacser's blithely girlish turns as Juliet, and her backtracking explanation (as Lisé) of dismembering herself ("I should clarify..."). The drawbacks are simple: an hour and change of soliloquies tends to drain, while the soliloquies themselves spend half their time in confessional exposition.

What did I learn?

  • That a pastiche's imperative is to tell oft-told stories either better or differently, which, despite occasional lulls and hackneyings, this one does.
  • That the rosiness-by-dimunition of this Romeo and Juliet rendering does little to abate the consistently doomstruck nature of the piece; on the contrary, it poignantly highlights what makes the tales, if barely, worth it.

See it if: You always sided with Dido vs. Aeneas...and you enjoyed Stardust more than you care to admit.

Skip it if: You can't restrain your skepticism when you hear someone's got a new take on Homer, Shakespeare, or Euripides.

Comments

  1. #1

    Blogs are often flip and "personal," and coincidentally showing off the writer's erudition. But this blog-review is extremely so. And it seems to miss the pathos, particularly when Agamemnon presents his soul-wrenching agony prior to having to make the sacrifice of his oh-so-beloved daughter. The "see it if" and "skip it if" are not helpful. And this "reviewer" seems not to have noticed the skills of the author in so empathically creating an alternative view, and in her actual writing. Nor did this "reviewer" notice the very excellent acting. Do go see it. You'll value it. And then ask, is Ted Scheinman's blog worthy of being noted?

  2. #2

    Sir Rosen,

    If I didn't make it clear that I enjoyed the acting, then I must apologize to both Hilary (Kacser) and David (Coyne), who delivered heartfelt, professional performances and have clearly worked to develop a superior chemistry with one another.

    As for Agamemnon—I found the alternate narrative compelling, yes. I also found that it slipped somewhat more into the "tell" than "show" category, a forgivable inevitability that — if you've ever been buttonholed by a lonely sod at a bar who wants to get his side of the story in print — you'll understand doesn't always guarantee the requisite catharsis.

    Beyond which, blog "comments" are often "flip" and "personal," which I believe makes them "interesting" and "worthy of note," depending on the level of "discourse." Knowing the ground rules, then, one might expect a "commenter" to read past the flip, quip, and snip, and to dig the silver lining, as it were.

    That said, one man's opinion is one man's opinion. This hip-shot happened to be mine.

  3. #3

    Well, I for one especially liked the part about: "Best moments: Hilary Kacser’s blithely girlish turns as Juliet, and her backtracking explanation (as Lisé) of dismembering herself (”I should clarify…”)."
    If I do say so myself, for what it's worth, just sayin'.
    Thanks, Ted!
    ~~Hilary

  4. #4

    Thanks for the review. It makes me want to go see it again. I enjoyed it but missed some of the characters the first time -- problem with late night fringe shows for those of us over 30! I particularly liked the transitions that Hilary Kacser made from character to character and I loeved how she played the light, young Juliet. I hope to see it again and I'd like to see Hilary in more!

  5. #5

    I, for one, have been in love with this young woman's acting ability for the last three fringe bouts. For any of us (followers) that have seen Kacsers 'Rose' as -'In, pursuit of the English', we know that if she has anything to do with the producing of the show (as in fringe or solo) we are in for a treat. Way to go Hilary!!

  6. #6

    Wow. What a wonderful performance. Everything about it soared in my estimation. Both actors were brilliant. Kudos to the playwright and to the director as well.

  7. #7

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Tales of Doomed Love." The play is a literary delight. The staging and the acting – Hilary Kacser and Dave Coyne's – were superb. The evening's theatrics stuck with me the morning after, which is the real test for me of how good a performance is.

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