Monday, August 15, 2011

FRINGE: Welcome to Eternity

I really enjoyed Matt Saldarelli's Getting Even With Shakespeare at last year's Fringe. He abandons Shakespeare characters for a trip down the aisle with his new play, Welcome to Eternity, a series of seven short scenes between soon-to-be-married couple Amanda (Mary Schneider) and Patrick (Patrick Pizzolorusso). (I should probably disclose that I am "Twitter friends" with Pizzolorusso.)

According to program notes, Saldarelli, whose own wedding is in a few weeks, got the inspiration for the play when he told his fiancée that he wanted to write a graphic novel about her family. That idea became "Justice Family of America." As you can see, this isn't your typical marriage play. Though a lot of the issues raised--religion, dieting--are familiar, Saldarelli puts an original spin on them. For example, in "Catholic-22," Patrick and Amanda play a game to test her Catholic knowledge and in "Missionary Sundays," Patrick decides to add some spontaneity into their sex lives by trying out a new sexual position a day.

Saldarelli writes convincing dialogue in which his characters go off on believable tangents. (As in Getting Even With Shakespeare, conversations include many pop culture references.) Though each scene stands solidly on its own and together they start to form a picture of the couple, the play could do with some more establishing of why these two are together. They don't seem to agree on anything and we rarely see them being affectionate with one another. Yes, the play is about how the wedding takes a toll on their relationship, but I wondered why they fell in love in the first place. Luckily, Schneider and Pizzolorusso have an easy rapport that makes it easier to fill in the blanks.

Remaining performances: Sat 20 @ noon and Thu 25 @ 2

Photo credit: Dixie Sheridan

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