Work in progress


Freaks Local 413
413 W. 44th Street (560-5595)
Non-union production (closes May 26)
Review by Andrés J. Wrath

Joystick is a showcase for works-in-progress. On May 11th five women showed previews of their upcoming one-woman shows. It was surprising that in a format such as Joystick, the works-in-progress were as self-contained as they were and seemed to work as a whole. The five talented women performing not only did a bang-up job as actresses but also as writers.

Christina McGrath was up first and did a fantastic job as a Spanish woman talking to her toy dog, while using a J-Crew catalog to suggest a children's storybook of a man and a woman caught in a dilemma. The piece was extremely well-written and hilariously executed. McGrath was so committed to her character that the magazine was believable as a children's book.

Next up was Jessica Allen, who used closeup slow motion to illustrate stories from her life, most notably the prom. Allen was a great presence and displayed a strong command of the stage; she brought the audience front-row-center with her tale, and the pacing built strongly.

Nothing could compare to the trip that Rebecca Tingley took the audience on. Her portion consisted of three segments: diary entries, death of innocence, and "I'm not a porno queen." The writing was sweet, devastating, and funny. Tingley played all her segments with first-rate skill and emotion.

Hilary Kimblin showed excerpts from her one-woman show Gringa Loca, which brought us to Equador. She tells her own tales of being a schoolteacher; not understanding the rules of curfew, she decides to go out for a little after-hours excitement. By turns hilarious and scary, a well-executed tale.

Finally, Jamie Denbo portrayed a mother of a child beauty-queen contestant waiting for her daughter to come out. The piece was terrifically acted but was too short and could have used a little more developing. It seemed to skim the surface. Denbo's piece did however arouse enough interest to want to see the next installment.

The directing of each piece was uncredited; assuming each performer was her own director, never once did a performer do herself in. The production level (all uncredited) was low-end, but did an adequate job of bringing the lights up and down, with a few music cues in-between; nothing astonishing, but nothing distracting.

Each week, another work-in-progress is shown. Perhaps you will be lucky to see an evening like the one on May 11th. Although not complete, it did arouse an appetite for things to come.

Box Score

Writing: 2
Directing: 1
Acting: 2
Sets: N/A
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2001 Andrés J. Wrath