Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Fringe Festival 2015 Review: ReLateAble

Posted by metaphorical on 15 August 2015

1h 15m
VENUE #5: The Celebration of Whimsy
Performance seen: Fri 14 @ 5:00

I saw ReLateAble at its first showing and it felt, inevitably, unrehearsed. The largely excellent dialogue calls for a particular pace, and two of the actors had already mastered it, while the other two had not—one by way of being too frantic, the other not frantic enough. These are good actors, so this a temporary issue.

The bigger problem with ReLateAble will not work itself out with more performances. While individual lines of dialogue sparkle and shine, doubly so in the reflection of laughter and the obvious enjoyment of the audience, the underlying beats repeat themselves endlessly, never increasing through further conflict, never getting an closer to solution.

Ann’s old college friend Fran is come for a visit; her roommate Jon is expecting the imminent arrival of Paul, a potential beau he met just last week. Meanwhile, the entire city’s Internet is inexplicably down. Jon is suffering withdrawal symptoms generally and a specific need to track Paul through every conceivable social networking platform.

Only one story thread resolves; fortunately, it is the most important one, and it does so satisfyingly with a dizzyingly perfect speech near the end. (The play could end there but for one final nice joke.) But the playwright needs to track all the story lines and give them beginnings, middles, and ends—and create one for Fran. Early on, she’s the strongest, most interesting character, but she becomes a plot-needed functionary as a loose cannon, before losing all relevance.

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