Friday, September 16, 2011

Fringe Encore: The More Loving One

Thanks to @PataphysicalSci I was invited to see the Fringe Encore of The More Loving One. 

It is a comedy about two couples, one straight and one gay and the ways in which they communicate or do not communicate with one another.  Ugh, I even hate the description of that but the work actually transcends the cliches.  It is by no means perfect but the writing and characters are compelling and funny.  The situations and discussions explored could have easily fallen into common traps but for some reason the writer, Cory Conley, manages to walk that fine line and surprise me--yes me--a super jaded viewer.

The straight couple are having a fight about a friend of the husband who was caught in a relationship with a 14 year old girl.  The roommate of the straight couple, Heinrich is trying to decide where to take things with his younger boyfriend of four years.  But really, there are deeper issues for both couples that they are trying to sort out. 

There were problems with the production but I hope the team keeps working on the material and can stage this again with largely a different group of actors.  My suggestions--yeah I know, no one is asking me for them:

1) Can you not make the girl a frickin' filmmaker artist wannabe.  That is cliche.  It's tired.  And it doesn't help anything.  The staging of her video shoot was awkward and strange.  I got awfully confused about the timeline from that scene.  I think it needs to be clearer.  Just make her a painter or something.  The new-media artist weirdness just doesn't work on stage.  There I said it.  It's true for Rent.  It's true for this show.  Maybe as a former film student I am biased here...or maybe I have just seen so much bad video art...I get it.  She has to have a profession that her scientist husband things is trivial and that keeps her at home hanging out with Heinrich.  Pick something else.  Make that relationship between Lauren and Heinrich clearer and stronger. 

2)  Also please cast actors and adapt the script to make it clearer what sort of generation gap you are exploring.  I loved Preston Martin as Henry.  He was absolutely the strongest member of the cast and hilarious.  But he looked older than everyone else in the cast and it was my understanding that he was supposed to be younger than everyone else.  Confusing.  I don't care if he is even an older undergraduate student, but then the rest of the cast has to read mid to late 30's.  And that's also where you lost me.  Part of me wondered if this married couple was a young couple or an older couple.  Some of their issues seemed more emblematic of younger couples but then some issues also seemed like they could work for an older couple.  Again, the casting made this harder to see clearly. 

3)  Heinrich--is he supposed to be German German?  I'm very confused about who he is as a person, what his relationships are with the other characters and why...I think the performer, Jimmy Davis, was just too one note for the whole show and I struggled to understand the character's motivations because of that. 


The show as a whole was enjoyable and I would completely look out for this writer's other works in the future.


Disclosure: Tickets received for this performance were complimentary for press.

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