Fringe By Numbers, Day Four: "Systems: A Literal Interpretation of the Fourth Wall"

Categories: Fringe Festival

Day Ten: 10:00 p.m. Time Slot

Show: Systems: A Literal Interpretation of the Fourth Wall
Company: Insurgent Theater
Venue: U of M Rarig Center Xperimental
Die Roll:  16

I'm about to write a review that kills my chances with two more women completely.  That thought crossed my mind  sitting in the audience of this show as I realized just how bad this show was.

Now, this is the point at which I say, it wasn't really the actresses' faults.  At least, not completely.  Most of the problems with this show were inherent in the script.  I'm going out on a limb and guessing that this was one of the first scripts written by the playwright.  I'm also going to share a theory with you that I've held for years.  It is regarding the Meaning of Life:

"The Meaning of Life play is something often written by a first-time playwright who wants to pontificate about how brilliant he is for an hour or so.  Every playwright has written one of these plays.  Remember that I am a playwright when I say this.  Every playwright has written one.  However, the wise playwrights keep it to themselves, or show it to a few friends, get feedback and then hide it away from public view.  Unless you've had one helluva life, or you're a spiritual savant, you shouldn't be trying to preach the meaning of life at the age of 25!  Live a little, then get back to me." -- That originally was posted in one of my very first "Fringe By Numbers" entries back in 2004.

The other place that blame ought to fall is upon whomever chose this script in the first place.  It is talky, has little point, no plot, and tries too hard to be philosophic.  My notebook is filled with reactions from "How very existential!" to "Who thought this was going to be a good idea?"

There's a little bit of remorse on my part due to the fact that I could tell that the actresses were really trying.  But, at the same time, Tracy Doyle had a conspicuously put-on accent and kept mugging with the same pouty chin-wrinkling expression throughout the whole show, making her an annoying caricature rather than a character, and Cynthia Kmak over-acted in a way that one might see most often in a freshman-level acting class.  This improved throughout the work on Kmak's part, periodically.  I look to the director in this case.  Many of the actions, or really, the inactions of this play could've been helped by better direction.  Although, nothing could've saved the script. 

Two lines from the play itself that may explain this show as quickly as possible:

  1. "A first attempt and a first failure."
  2. "Great.  You produced ... that."

Rating: d4 = Not Worth The Time

Ten Word Summary:  At one point she apologizes for the tedium. Apology accepted.



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