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Fort Fringe–The Shop

Remaining Performances:

Saturday, July 20, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 27, 12:30 p.m.

They Say: “An adaptation of Ovid’s MetamorphosesPolaroid Stories tells the tales of street kids. Intertwining mythology with stories of homeless youth, this play will leave you contemplating: If you change the way your story is told, can you change your life?”

Rachel M.’s Take: One of the great pleasures of Fringe is discovering new companies you don’t want to miss again, artists so hungry to perform that they go on with a missing actor, no understudy, costumed in flannel, leather jackets and sweatshirts in The Shop while the sun was still out. And they hold nothing back. It makes you love theater more than you already do.

Each of the actors in Blind Pug’s production about street kids whose lives parallel Greek mythology gets a chance to wow you, and every one of them, at one point or another, does. I particularly enjoyed Andrea Parente‘s manic commitment as SKINHEADgirl (there’s no indication in the dialogue as to why she is called this, since she seems very nice) and Sheen Mercado‘s relaxed charisma as Dionysus, who’s pretty sure he’s a god. The total abandon of the performers mixed well with the homeless, strung-out characters. Each time Brandon Deane as SKINHEADboy (at least he has a buzz cut) flung himself around the stage, I worried a little, a perfect confluence of how I was meant to feel about the character melding into how I felt about the actor.

Polaroid Stories is a ’90s adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the street kids’ self-aggrandizement and lack of reliable information on disappeared friends lends itself to the urban-legend quality of the myths. It’s moving to imagine what exactly a kid means when he says, “I used to know a girl who turned into a river.”

The show is a discursive set of monologues and dialogues that establish character more than tell a story. Those who wrote a lot of literary analysis papers in college will note the thematic differences between the titles, with Metamorphoses promising to document change and Polaroid Stories emphasizing preserved moments in a life. I wished for more plot, but the show is an effective showcase for eager, talented performers aiming to challenge themselves.

See it if: You just want to give struggling young people a big hug/high five.

Skip it if: You prefer the whole exposition-rising action-climax-denouement business.