Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: Resurfacing Life

By Michael Block

Sometimes all it takes is a strong story and basic storytelling to make the perfect Fringe play. Those were the main ingredients of Sean-Patrick O’Brien's nearly flawless Zamboni. In this drama, a man searches for completeness while trying to be a somebody for everybody. Broken into mostly two-character scenes, Zamboni follows Jamie as he battles the world's perception of him as he tries to only give the goodness he knows. He makes new connections with an array of people, each asking him to be a somebody. Whether it's a caretaker, a lover, a daddy, a friend, or an employee, Jamie must be something different to everyone. And in the process, Jamie experiences a crisis of self. Zamboni is a fantastic script with smart writing by O’Brien. It's a heartbreaking story. It's heavy but not daunting. O’Brien has written a character that teeters on unassuming immaturity. Jamie, for whatever reason, has not grown up and developed normally causing him to have a bit of a simple, youthful mind where he can't see the bad things in his actions. Through each scene, we see these beautiful relationships form where the other party is unaware of the big picture. But when the puzzle is completed and Jamie's life spirals out of control, everyone suddenly sees the truth of the situation.
Zamboni featured exceptional direction by Leslie Kincaid Burby. She took an expressionistic approach to the storytelling. The play moved effortlessly with transitions from scene to scene blending into one another. This is an intimate play. And with the elements of the space playing a major factor, the volume from the company needed to be amped up overall. But it was nice to have the ice rink feel with the cold temperature of the theater. With four cubes and a rolling cart from scenic designer Duane Pagano,  Kincaid Burby was still able to define space and represent the world.
Zamboni featured an incredible ensemble. Though they rarely intertwined, everyone had immense chemistry with Joseph Franchini's Jamie. Franchini gave a heartbreaking performance. To avoid complete drama, Dawn McGee as Leeann was perfectly humorous. Her colorful take on the woman searching for love was filled with glimmer of hope and bouts of despair. A dead-ringer for Kesha, Mae Mitchell had vivacity as Chloe. Her spunky persona made the oddball pair stand out. Though there was one blaring question mark in his character, Nick DiLeonardi was a fun goof as Trip.
This is a play scout loneliness and solitude. This is a play about a person wanting to be something to somebody. Zamboni is a refreshing play. Who knew we needed a play about a zamboni driver.