City Paper is not for tourists
Fort Fringe — Bedroom
Tuesday, July 15 at 6:15 p.m. Sunday, July 20 at 2:45 p.m. Friday, July 25 at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27 at noon
They say: An adult multilingual expressionistic and absurd deconstruction of the “Jack and Jill” nursery rhyme. A sci-fi tragi-comedy. A spy story set inside a brain scan, filled with misguided attempts by distorted characters to inappropriately love and/or abuse one another.
Rachel M’s take: It is adult, multilingual, expressionistic and absurd. It is sci-fi, for as long as it takes to say some sentences about camera-drones and uploading yourself a vacation. It might be a spy story, for all I know. There are definitely distorted characters attempting to inappropriately love and abuse one another. There are also characters named Jack (Stephen Notes) and Jill (Christine Asero).
And Mary Jane (Ashley Faye Dillard), Nell (Rachel Garmon) and Mother (Danae Truhart), because the later verses of “Jack and Jill” get way more complicated than you probably remember. There’s some brown paper and some capering, and Jack and Jill die (?) but then Jill laughs, and let’s just say very little gets resolved.
“The Tumbling” retains the sense of WHAT THE FUCK of the full nursery rhyme. Characters say things completely unconnected to what was said to them, and one character is covered in boils, and Jack speak-sings what I think was Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in German, and later he has a really long, really detailed and graphic description of cunnilingus from the giver’s perspective. Jill is sometimes his therapist, stern in tight black pants and long black high heeled boots; Mary Jane is his lover, in a nightgown; Nell, in a sports bra and yoga pants, is some kind of impulsive/adventurous person who keeps wanting to bone Mary Jane, and Mother, also in workout clothes, is angry and seems to have lost something. Okay.
Notes’ particular motivation in writing, directing, producing and starring in his own Fringe show opposite four women at least a decade younger in revealing clothing (who also keep asking concerned questions about Jack’s penis) aside, the play has a sort of fun absurdist glee, with a couple of funny lines that got no laughs at the production I saw, either because of Notes’ delivery or because we were all so creeped out.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Plenty of great art is creepy, and the Fun Police keep rejecting my application. Garmon and Asero (who also assistant directed) are particularly committed, with high energy and focus. I believed their whiplash-inducing shifts, even when I had no idea why they were doing what they were.
“I think the point of that was to make everyone uncomfortable,” I overheard another audience member say as we were leaving. I disagree. I don’t think the goals of this production have much to do with the audience at all.
See it if: You read this and think I sound like a humorless feminist.
Skip it if: You want to have any idea, ever, of what’s going on.