Cover Me in Humanness
Fort Fringe – Redrum

Remaining Performances: Wednesday, July 15 at 7:30 pm.  Saturday, July 25 at 2:30 pm.

They Say: In the National Gallery, a statue stirs.  Everything changes when this ancient voice begs to be freed and a quiet girl stops being quiet.  Four hearts murmur through air thick with technological chirps and Footloose in this mysterious new one-act.

Ann’s Take: Cover Me in Humanness was lovely.  And, in the sometimes slapstick, fart-joke, snarky, esoteric, experimental, deviant world of Fringe (all good things, mind you), it’s nice to have a little lovely once in a while.

Jake Jeppson’s one-act asks, with modest prose and light-hearted humor, “What’s beneath one’s surface?”  Through a cast of three humans and a rather bossy ballerina statue, each longing for connection, we find that intimacy ain’t so easy.  For starters, the wax replica falls in love (or maybe in “need”) with her security guard Nigel, which uh…poses some challenges.  Then there’s Beth, whose inability to share anything about herself inadvertently causes both the guard and her local video store clerk to helplessly chase after her.

Everyone is stuck in some way, but no one plays stuck better than Meghan Nesmith (Beth). The character’s  hesitant behaviors are performed with such knotted energy that you  sense internal collapsing every time she moves or speaks.   Her uncertain tone pairs nicely with Matt Pearson’s (Nigel) blunt, monotone conjectures on art and life.

But, stuck is a temporary state, because dance brings these lost souls together.  Line dancing, classical ballet dancing, “kick off your Sunday shoes” dancing.  (The rumors are true.  A young Kevin Bacon makes a video appearance.)  This show weaves a whole lot of dance into the plot, without doing much dancing…thankfully.  (Not every Fringe production needs to break out in jazz hands.)  If you like dance, even just a little bit, you’ll find the script provides a nice love note to the art form.

The production is not without a few weaknesses.  The statue’s soliloquies dabble in overwrought profundities and do not balance well with the rest of the work.  The video cues and editing could use some smoothing out as well.  And, if you are familiar with the rather famous sculpture they portray, you know it depicts a 14-year-old girl, making the whole infatuation with the adult security guard kind of creepy. These are minor bumps, however, in a journey that was well worth taking.

See it if: You’re down with talking inanimate objects.

Skip it if: You hated Footloose.