Saturday, August 13, 2022

An unforgettable evening at the Fringe

“An Evening of Alli Jordan” is a collection of short plays written by local playwright Alli Jordan. These plays were first performed at the Fishtank in June as part of their Drunken Shorts series, which was a mix of a playwright slam and staged reading. If only able to make it to one show in the Fringe Festival this year, “An Evening of Alli Jordan” would be the show to choose.

One of the short plays in the night’s entertainment tells the story of a woman moving in with her boyfriend from the perspective of her books, which she is sorting through and choosing ones to sell.

The audience is presented with Macbeth and Sookie Stackhouse, played by Tim Wilkinson and Jenny Ward, who are fighting not to be thrown into the box of items to be sold in a garage sale by their owner, played by Diana Watts. The conceit of the show is clever and well executed. Wilkinson’s exaggerated Scottish brogue is particularly fun. There are many jabs at various authors and their characters as well as clever insertions of lines from Macbeth into the dialogue. While the show was quite funny, it smoothly transitions to a more serious note, ending with a surprisingly poignant visual.

Because Macbeth is a famous character in a play, there is a rather clever meta theatrical moment, as Macbeth narrates the book owner’s entrance with the exact stage directions in the script, which were read by the playwright herself.

The involvement of Jordan in the actual script-in-hand reading added a new layer to the script and provided the audience with a chance to truly hear her voice in the works.

The open script reading is elevated by dynamic acting and surprisingly involving scripts. Forest Attaway is an impressive presence as always, but is overshadowed by brilliance of the work. The fresh viewpoint presented by Jordan and expressive acting by the readers reinvigorates the audience. There is a talk back after the performance with the author as these are new and still changing and growing works, which is always an interesting and enlightening theatrical experience.

Alli was the first playwright to be accepted into the Creative Writing & Media Arts MFA Program at UMKC. Since then, her plays have been performed at Operation Breakthrough, The Fishtank, Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival and Project Playwright.

The performance will take place at the Fishtank Tuesday July 23 at 9 p.m., Wednesday July 24 at 9 p.m. and Thursday July 25 at 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit kcfringe.org

 

Photo Credit: Nick Sawin

From left: Tim Wilkinson, Diana Watts, Jenny Ward and playwright Alli Jordan

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