by Everett Goldner · August 15, 2014
“I don’t know – just come here.”
What could this exchange between lovers be about? Maybe something utterly mundane; maybe something rare or strange. We won’t know until we know, and we’ll want to know pretty quickly. Do we find out? We do and we don’t, which is the answer over and over throughout MMF, as our curiosity and our emotions are whipped up… and up… and up… and up… like pinballs inside a tornado, into a frenzy of something I may as well call love.
(Wearing his sweatshirt): “You love it.”
I know these people, you realize at some point during the show; I feel just like that – or have felt, or will again. A place to be in that’s hard and horrible and exhilarating and everything else that comes out of the cornucopia called “relationships” that we spend our lives dreaming about.
That this becomes so phenomenally vivid is due to the only two factors that matter in theater: the writing and the acting. David Kimple is the playwright (and director), and you want to see this show first and foremost because you want to see theater that comes at you in cadences as clipped and shot through with life at a boil as anything since early David Mamet, and Kimple’s script gives you that, gives the bones of character that actors can hang on to grow into something real.
And grow they do: Mike Mizwicki as over-analytic Dean, Andrew Rincon as cuddly Michael and Courtney Alana Ward as Jane, gooey on top and with a core of hammered steel, make you believe in these people until the bottom falls out and you find yourself quaking in the dark along with them. I can honestly say that at every turn I was simultaneously sick to death of these three and rapt to see what would happen next. Dialogue rings in continual spirals that rise slowly (or immediately) up to the ceiling where, finding that they can go no higher, they instantly break and slide with a controlled tension back to the floor, where the shards of what’s been said and done gather for the next rise. I cannot overstate how extraordinary this was, how singularly brilliant the accomplishment of this show is: I do not think I’ve ever seen a play before, in my life, that manages to create this kind of perpetual emotional motion machine: like a spinning coin that’s dipped exactly to the point where the motion would seem to go drunken before the coin settles and stops… but it does not stop. It goes on spinning on that fine edge of drunkenness, where the mundane can burst open and rain in a thousand colors: love, searing anger, tenderness, violence, hatred, hope, and so on, forever. (Needless to say, the chemistry between the three actors is intense.)
As curtain call ended and the lights came up, I turned to the girl behind me and asked her to describe what she’d just seen in ten words or less. She spent fifteen minutes telling me about her past relationships. As we talked, I realized that our language, verbal and physical, was still resounding through the language of the play. Because none of us ever leave the perpetual motion machine, and MMF bears a truth that’s uncommon enough to say so. It has three more performances at Fringe: SEE IT.