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The Shop, 607 New York Avenue NW
Sunday, July 10, 2:45 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 22, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23 at midnight
They Say: Join Meagan and David as they lead you through the magic of creative activity! Go ahead, bring your stage fright! Low cost to you! Perfect for Father’s Day gifts. Ben’s Take: For the purposes of this review, call me Carol. At least that’s what the name tag I was handed upon entering the theater read, as all audience members are assigned pseudonyms for this hour-long comedy of discomfort. But would it really be Fringe if a show weren’t screwing with the audience five minutes into the festival? Forgoing any proper introduction, Dylan Marron jumps in front of the audience as David, a quivering amalgam of every bad motivational speaker, guest lecturer, or camp director you’ve ever encountered. (The effect is amplified if you’ve ever spent summers at a day camp in the New York City exurbs.) Jo Firestone, as Meagan, is that most loathed creature of childhood summersthe camp director’s wife.
Low-Cost Creativity Workshop picks up on the second day of a long weekend of team-building exercises and finding one’s inner muse, though not before David harangues the audienceer, participantsfor putting him through such a difficult first day. As “Carol,” my lone crime was focusing on my cellphone instead of, say, David’s gawky improv lessons. I got off easy. Two of my fellow “classmates” were marched on stage for a forced apology to one another. Meagan has joined the workshop to back up her insecure hubby.
Firestone and Marron are known for their mastery of awkward humor, but Low-Cost Creativity Workshop is a different beast than last year’s Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, in which the pair split 17 characters en route to winning the Director’s Award. Perhaps I, as “Carol,” wasn’t game for participatory theater that included self-esteem-building chants and a game of tag, but the awkwardness up front was, well, just awkward. That eventually subsided, as Meagan and David stopped caring about “Carol,” “Tim,” and the rest of us as their marital discord unraveled. After all, it’s more fun to watch.
See it if: You enjoy audience participation, interpretive dance, Enya, corporate retreats, Long Island day camp.
Skip it if: You’d rather not bein the play.