I must pass quickly over the remaining four pieces with brief mentions, and not because I didn’t like them. Zach Young uses Annie Lennox’s “Missionary Man” to get the ball rolling with bounce and swagger. In “Fragmented Dreams,” Marte Osiris Madera spins floating lyricism, with salutes to romantic ballet, setting Celine Dion’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Using Adele’s “I Miss You,” Jillian Godwin in “First Touch” rings the changes on how things get started between couples, setting the sparks that become four-alarm fires (to paraphrase “I’m Beginning to See the Light”). And Brandon Comer’s “Over the Rainbow” constitutes a majestic company salute to much-admired DK veteran Liberty Harris, centerpiece of his rhapsody on Patti LaBelle’s impassioned version.
|The image of a little girl among fairies told some people what they wanted to believe.|
Among other Friday evening shows I saw was Earlham College‘s all-female “Elsie and Frances and the Fairies,” an extrapolation of oddball history of the kind that Tom Horan does so well, on thePhoenix Theater’s Russell Stage.
Girls playing in grandma’s attic evoke a long-ago, proto-photoshop hoax involving an encounter with fairies in the woods. Catherine Blencowe and Emma Socey played cousins Elsie and Frances, respectively, concocters of the adventure intended to cast an ectoplasmic glow over Frances’ three days’ solitary absence in provincial woods, which, she reports at home, were spent among fairies.
The leads were charmingly handled, and received generally shipshape support from Sage Halewolfe, Mallory War, and Cianna Rothwell as various characters from present and past time levels. Among the portrayals, bordering on caricature, was one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who after his fame as creator of the master detective Sherlock Holmes, astonishingly was taken in by the girls’ “evidence” of fairyland.
The play, Friday’s audience was told, is still a work in progress. The production handles the interlocking levels of fantasy and reality pretty well. Horan’s whimsy was in evidence throughout. In carrying it out, there are refinements one hopes the student cast will be able to apply.
Here are a few quibbles: I hope the adult skeptics will be made a little less ridiculous, because the dramatic tension would be more engaging if the mockery these fussy ladies make of the girls’ fairy stories seemed to threaten their credibility.
* A knighted Englishman would not be referred to as “Sir Doyle”; in this case, it’s “Sir Arthur” unless the full name is used.
* Does even a little girl not know that the plural of “mouse” is “mice”? To hear “we were as quiet as church mouses” is slightly rattling, especially since it’s also a lame variation on “as poor as church mice.”
* The word “weirdo” is only about 60 years old, and doesn’t fit here.