Great Battles in History
This is the fringiest fringe show you might ever see. Starring playwright Mark Shyzer as the sole remaining member of a botched histori-musical production of (now) dramatic(ly reduced) proportions.
Shyzer embodies the distraught production manager of “Battle! Hymn?,” attempting to cope with the collapse of his show, his home life, and his faith in the theatre, not to mention his spreadsheet. It is an understated performance, but a good one as Shyzer maintains the illusion of incompetence with such great skill throughout this play that you’re forced to wonder if (or perhaps believe that) the story he spins is actually true.
The stage design is interesting, and perfectly suited to the character that occupies it. Shyzer provides all the lighting and sound on stage, which lends credibility to the idea of a hurriedly-prepared presentation. I thought a couple elements (the army men, for instance) were perhaps a bit underused, but that is likely because the use to which they were put was so interesting and appropriate.
Hints of the character’s real problems leak through from the subtext of the script while remaining firmly linked to the tales he weaves of the origins of conquerors, and their great battles. But I won’t spoil those for you. Just remember that the story has a few more layers than you might initially suppose. There is a good combination of disappointment and hilarity woven together in this show, and I particularly enjoyed the clever punning present in the dialogue and songs.
This is not an easy show, but Shyzer succeeds in hitting his marks of emotion and performance in a charming fusion of History and the character’s past. It’s definitely worth a look.
Upcoming Shows: (Venue #2: Arts Court Library)
June 25 @ 21:00
June 26 @ 18:00
June 28 @ 20:00