Friday, June 1st, 2012...10:00 am
“Grim and Fischer: a deathly comedy in full-face mask” at Fringe
Two of MCW’s wierdos, Lizz and Rebecca, had the pleasure of attending the second of three showings of the imaginative comedy Grim and Fischer last night at the Know Theatre, a part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
Lizz: “All the quirkiest, feistiest parts from both of my grandmothers came to life in one of the magical characters of Grim and Fischer.
I kept thinking of the Utah Phillips quote, ‘No matter how New Age you get, old age gonna kick your ass’ — but in this case, Death had better watch out for old age! Armed with her flesh-toned nylons and bathroom fiascoes, this granny has no intention of going gently into the good night.
Music, sound effects, and the brilliant, simple movement of the silent, masked characters manage to evoke some intense emotions, and, at the same time, play with the humor of old age. This performance was quite funny, painted with many lovely, poignant moments, and a laugh-out-loud musical montage number with Death himself.
The masks alone are enough reason to see this show, incredibly emotive and dynamic for something so fixed… I was moved.”
Rebecca: ”Created by Kate Braidwood (one of the two actors), the masks are works of art in themselves, made with the papier-mâché method, then sanded down and painted. So stunning at first glance, and they remain fascinating throughout the show, especially how the light hits them — magic!
The actors in Grim and Fischer: a deathly comedy in full-face mask are Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix, who together form WONDERHEADS of Portland, Oregon. Assisting them on the technical side is Emily Windler, who carried out all the sound elements present in this piece during performance.
Neither of the actors ever speak while in full-face mask, which makes it even more interesting how meaning is conveyed to the audience. I admire how skilled the actors are with using their bodies in a very expressive way (along with the music and sound effects) to help us fill in the story, similar to how a painting or sculpture can give us clues about its meaning. In particular, the jacket and music box become emotional symbols.
After the show, Kate told me that the spirited old lady character is reminiscent of her own grandma. I realized that it could easily be anyone’s eccentric relative, just like the topic of death is inevitably relatable to all. There are a few very touching moments. But this show will really make you laugh too — it gets so silly and absurd! That’s why it’s called a deathly comedy, right?”
There’s only one performance left, so call 513-300-KNOW to get tickets now for Saturday’s 8:15 PM show!
Written by Lizz Godfroy and Rebecca Nebert
Photos by Jeff Burkle with Cincy Fringe