Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: A Dark and Twisted Faery Tale

Abandonment is a natural fear. Being left by someone close can stunt the psyche. Abandonment and companionship are some of the central themes in the twisted fantasy Comes a Faery by James McLindon presented by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company.
Eight-year-old Siobhan is left with her Aunt Katie when her mother is deployed. Siobhan develops an intimate relationship with a book about fairies and leprechauns her mother gave her and thusly projects a leprechaun friend named Seaneen. Using the mythology of the faery world, Seaneen becomes her closest ally and darkest nightmare. He guides Siobhan on a journey of self-destruction in hopes of bringing her mother home from war. McLindon's script lives in dark fantastical world where imagination and reality intertwine to tell a story of fear and longing for connection. Seaneen watches over Siobhan controlling her every thought, defying the wishes of her Aunt Katie, Katie’s new male companion Raphael, and the pediatric doctor Dr. Neery. As Seaneen guides Siobhan down a dangerous path to achieve her one goal, Katie begins to lose hope in her ability to take care of her niece, causing Siobhan to lash out and ultimately run away, conceding to the desires of the malicious leprechaun. But like many fairy tales, there is a modern moral attached. McLindon’s play lives in a world of magical realism, offering a pretty solid set of rules. There is consistency in the text that doesn’t quite translate in the vision of director Shaun Peknic’s staging. But regardless, McLindon starts off with a bang, immediately introducing the audience to the connection of child and her imaginary friend. With such important material thrown at you immediately, it can be a bit troublesome to take it all in. While it’s not always the best device to utilize, Comes a Faery could certainly benefit from some sort of prologue or introduction to ease in. It could even tie into the magical world that McLindon prescribes. The characters are quite basic. They are limited in their wants and needs. But there are some interesting personal connections that offer hints of dimensionality. Raphael is more than just a new person in Siobhan’s life. And the connection Siobhan develops with him is very important. McLindon brushes the surface of this relationship and could expand it further. This would add a very interesting dynamic for Seaneen and his hatred to the person impeding his domain. The parallels and connections between Raphael and Seaneen is one of the most interesting elements of the script. When it comes to Raphael and Katie, McLindon develops their relationship beyond the point of need. Finding ways to trim out the excess could make room for the more dynamic relationships.
With the characters as written, it caused some one-dimensional performances. Meghan St. Thomas as Siobhan had to play youthful yet believable. St. Thomas captured the curious bundle of energy but rarely did it change. Michaela Reggio’s Katie seemed to always play upon the character’s self-absorbed hysterics. Though it may not have been her intent, Reggio made Katie feel as if Siobhan was merely just a burden. Josh Marcantel had the ability to play entirely in the fantasy world and it paid off. Marcantel was persuasive and endearing, yet still had a sinister side.
The overall vision brought forth by director Shaun Peknic could have been a little tighter. Peknic’s approach was very cinematic. The way he guided his company was quite small and intimate. There was honesty in this approach but did not translate on the stage. Utilizing Kyu Shin’s set meant relegating certain sections of the stage for each locale. Shin’s giant book added to the fantasy world, creating Siobhan’s safe space but without a Peknic prescribing a specified the fourth wall between this room and the living room, each actor utilized the space inconsistently. Written by The Roly Polys, comprised of Janet Bentley and Andy Evan Cohen, the soundtrack of Comes a Faery was a lovely addition to the ambiance of the world. The whimsical score though could have been brought up a little louder to have a more of an important presence.
When all is said and done, there is something familiar about Comes a Faery. There is accessibility in the themes. But there seems that there is more to explore in these characters.