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The Shop – Fort Fringe
Saturday, July 12 at 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 15 at 10 p.m.
Sunday, July 20, at 6:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 22, at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 25, at 6 p.m.
They say: A series of vignettes all centering on what happens when we step out of our comfort zones to help a stranger. Whether it turns into a long list of curse words or a lifelong friendship, this play will make you think twice the next time you’re asked to spare some change.
Eva’s Take: Misleadingly named, Cross the Line is not, in fact, about pushing the envelope, breaking rules, or abandoning your labor union during a strike.
Instead, director and producer Jenna Selby wants to remind her audience what can happen when you choose to engage with the people around you, on the metro, on the dance floor, or in the checkout line at a Giant. The show strives to demonstrate the power that small acts of kindness can have on the strangers we all meet every day.
But hang on, Blanche. Before you try to say that you’ve seen this before — and in a way, you have — there are moments that will hit close to home for anyone who’s neglected to spare change in Dupont or sat in the only stall that didn’t have toilet paper.
The show tries to accomplish a lot of big things, but but is more interesting in its smaller moments. Some of the vignettes are contrived; a few scenes come off as sentimental and inauthentic. The strength of the show rests on its simplicity: no costumes, few props, a handful of actors playing many characters. The cast’s use of space, and the tableaus they’re able to create using only their bodies, are the images you’ll want to stick around for. In the last scene, I saw more than a few audience members smiling (an image I like to stick around for).
In spite of itself, it is a memorable show. If you can endure some over-the-top and obvious takes on characterization and storytelling, and more than one painful attempt at an accent, then it’s worth seeing. And who knows? It may just move you to to the sort of kindness on which strangers depend.
See it if: You want something heartfelt with visual appeal.
Skip it if: You don’t want to hear an actor screaming as she gives birth to a stuffed animal in Ghana.