On the Fringe: Animalice and Confession of a Drunk Mother
Throughout the Minnesota Fringe, LeftMN theater correspondent Jennifer Tuder is doing reviews of the shows she sees. Here are two more. You can read her Fringe preview here, and see an earlier review of Chorus here.
Animalice: Art is making, not faking.
“Make something,” says Alice to Domina Peabody. And that is the crucial point of Animalice: art is making, not faking. Domina Peabody, played with relish by Andrea Baldwin, is the Red Queen of conceptual art. Domina seduces Alice Mudwater (Lindsay Greer), a naïve art student, into selling herself as a work of art. Domina seeks to use Alice to claw her way back to the top of the art world. Alice, in the meanwhile, must figure out how to escape from the clutches of her contract. She is aided by Hunter Fine’s timid Doormouse and Kyle Cheesewright’s delightfully cynical Cuckoo Clock. Lindsay Greer plays Alice as green but defiant, and handles her transformation from art object to empowered creatrix beautifully. Finally, the design elements from costumes (e.g. Domina’s lovely corset) to props (e.g. the silver and gold phone that appears whenever Domina waves her fingers) all make wry commentary on the gallery space itself.
Writer and director Nico Wood has created a parable about how to make art in the unnamed streets of late capitalism. Animalice’s lovely surrealism reveals a truth about art: it’s all too easy to take the pill that makes you small. In other words, Wood and her Ephemera company are definitely making it, not faking it.
Animalice is playing at the Playwrights Center, 2301 E Franklin Ave. Remaining shows are: Wednesday, 8/8 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8/9 10:00 p.m. Friday, 8/10 7:00 p.m.
Confession of a Drunk Mother: Finding yourself is the hardest part.
Kristi Treinen is unflinchingly honest in her one-woman show, Confession of a Drunk Mother. Treinen’s story is about “lies, motherhood, and alcoholism” as advertised, but it is primarily about the sheer terror of finding herself. While there are some recognizable elements of recovery narratives, Treinen doesn’t get bogged down in the spectacle of shocking details. Instead, she focuses on tracing the process of losing and finding herself instead. Even as she began relying heavily on alcohol, couldn’t see herself reflected in the pop culture models of “drunks.” She didn’t resemble the alcoholic mothers featured on Dr. Phil. What she slowly came to realize is that she trapped in a life that was “a lie.” She found her way out by learning to face herself with complete, agonizing honesty.
Confession is a work in progress, which seems fitting for this show. I’m looking forward to seeing what Treinen will do with the show in the future, especially regarding staging. Her keen self-reflection and dry wit make this production a valuable contribution to understanding the process of recovery.
Confession of Drunk Mother is playing at HUGE Theater, 3037 Lyndale Ave S. Remaining shows are: Thursday, 8/9 5:30 p.m. Friday, 8/10 10:00 p.m. Sunday, 8/12 5:30 p.m.
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