Get our free newsletter
Waiting on a giant download at my desk, so I’ve just got a few minutes. And plenty of people have commented already on Callie Kimball’s sprawling 27-character (or was it 28?) show about the actress and the talking elephants. So I’m not gonna go on at length here.
I did wanna say, though, that “astoundingly misguided” concept or no (and I’d have to say no), I thought it was pretty delightful: Rangy, confident, and fearless in conception; executed boldly and with an attention to detail and craft that some other Fringe experiments could stand to emulate; and chock full of appealing performances.
The woman playing the Tall White Bird was aaaaaamaaaaazing (wonderfully, precisely physical) — which is not to slight the other beasties, ’cause from elephants to hyenas, there was a lot of evidence that folks had spent a lot of time watching Animal Planet and figuring out how to distill the essence of critter movement into moves that work on the human body.
Now, y’all know Kimball and I are friends-ish, but I’d say in a minute — to her face and in print — if I thought it blew. I was a little fuzzy, I confess, on the fate of one character whose illness set a key plot arc in motion; I’m not sure why she was as important as she clearly was, or what ultimately was wrong with her, except that I’m pretty sure there was some watery connection to Hamlet’s Ophelia.
But it totally didn’t blow, and it made a good bit more sense than the WashPo seemed to think. In fact, that whole bit about “the spiritual impoverishment of modern civilization” and how it wasn’t really a theme in the play?
Um, yesitwas. In a fairly big way. I mean, a Washington nonprofit guy decides to stay in Kenya and live with elephants because he realizes how shallow his life has been …