by Shelley Molad · August 19, 2015
KG Garcia | Leslie Hassler
For some of us, there are former loves that we can never let go of, those who left an indelible impression and are part of a memory or time period we will always savor. So it goes with K.G. Garcia, writer and narrator of Jericho, which opened at the Krane Theater as part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival. Jericho is essentially a memory play told directly to the audience, or so it deceivingly seems until we realize his character Khalil is speaking to his former college love named Dani.
Set in his childhood home which is now covered in moving boxes, Khalil must sift through his old stuff before his mother throws it out. His old college roommate (Curry Whitmire) appears to help, but it isn't quite clear if he's real or a part of Khalil's imagination, which we come to learn is quiet vivid and full of a host of characters who are humorously played by Curry Whitmire, Dan Olson, and Jimmy Kieffer.
Director Derik Wingo does a nice job using the revolving doors upstage to bring the various characters in and out of Khalil's head, as he navigates his memories of college and his brief but tender and wounded love affair with Dani. Dani is played by Joanne Wilson, who does a fine job embodying the cool and confident, pretty Irish-New England girl in a hoody and jeans whose mind is impossible to read -- especially considering Khalil spends most of the show building up our expectations of her. She even wins an impressive rap battle between all the actors, one of the few times Garcia is surprisingly fluid in his delivery.
Responsible for carrying a show that he wrote, the pressure for Garcia to hold our attention is high. And while he manages to get through the wordy script, there are times it feels he may have benefitted from some serious editing. There is so much dialogue and information being told that details get lost, and I found myself struggling to keep up.
Luckily, Jericho's ensemble has great chemistry and Whitmire, Olson, and Kieffer do a great job of offering the much needed comic relief to the often sappy, self-deprecating story.
K.G. Garcia is a refreshing lead actor with a lot to offer and kudos to him for tackling three jobs as writer, narrator, and main character. Jericho has strong potential and FringeNYC is the perfect place for a first audience. With some refining and clarity, Garcia should have no problem landing all the beats.