Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review: Fragments of a Broken Heart

In Rachel Kerry’s multimedia drama Seven Fragments, the relationship of two young girls is explored as their bond grows from new friends into something a little bit more. Featuring theater, poetry, dance, music, and animation, Seven Fragments has a lot going on at once. But when you strip it down, the story and relationship that Kerry crafts between the two girls is quite strong. When Kerry introduces the other elements into the piece, it’s not nearly as emotive, even hurting the momentum. But when it comes to forming a relationship, Kerry succeeds. The characters that Kerry and actresses Lizzy Ana Lincoln and Sarah Wilhelm create make you want more. With only snapshots of relationship, you almost have to wonder what a fully realized story of The New Girl and The Smart Girl would be. While the poetic interludes showcase Kerry’s poetic tongue, the way it is used within the constraints she has established feel hokey.
To no fault of her own, Lizzy Jutila did a fine job reciting Kerry’s words. But she didn’t hold a candle to Lincoln and Wilhelm. The chemistry between the two was unrivaled. From first meet to last interaction, their bond was true. As The New Girl, Lizzy Ana Lincoln was sharp, holding an aura of intrigue in her performance. The New Girl is a master manipulator of emotion and Lincoln was in complete control. Sarah Wilhelm gave a heartbreaking performance as The Smart Girl. Wilhelm portrayed a character that encounters a situation everyone can relate to. Wilhelm is naturally quirky, yet when she broke into the emotional side, Wilhelm was justified. You felt for her.
photo by Ian Price
Directing her own piece, Kerry’s incorporation of element after element hurt the overall picture. The animation that was projected didn’t quite add anything to the storytelling. The design by Kerry was certainly nice to look at but it was repetitive. The music that accompanied the production was haunting. Jay Vincent’s score fit the poetic beats nicely. When it came to staging the duets, Kerry kept things tight and it worked. By avoiding unnecessary movement, it allowed the intimate story to feel lived in.
Seven Fragments is essentially broken up into its own tiny fragments but when you glue them all together to form the heart of the piece, it doesn’t fit perfectly. Rachel Kerry has a unique vision but an even stronger voice. The dialogue and relationship is what is at the core of this play. And that’s where Kerry shines.