Monday, July 27, 2015

Fringe Preview - Two Jokes, One Act

Two Jokes, One Act: The Boar & The Proposal presented by Delve Theatre

Popova mourns her lost lover. Smirnov can't keep his pistol in his pants. Lomov has a heart attack. You've never seen two of Chekhov's hilarious "jokes in one act" spliced into a single farce quite like this!

As Jeff Larson rightly pointed out, “That was the first one of these previews I could hear all the way backstage.”  Married actors Laura and Zach Delventhal, and their onstage partner in crime Aaron Konigsmark, really went for broke on this comedic preview.  Full-on, over the top histrionics, voices at full throttle, they were slinging Chekhovian insults at each other with great verve.  Fringe posted a video, listen for yourself:

“That turnip ghost!”

Sometimes I didn’t even understand the words with which they were insulting each other (non-four letter word insults were so much more complex back in the late 19th century), but they seemed suitably incensed so I happily played along.  It was a (deliberate) farce in the best sense of the word. (I have to admit, personally knowing the actors were married made me feel a little weird that they were playing father and daughter, but again, the thing was so much fun I willingly bought into the conceit.)

“She used to run around with an architect!  An architect!”

If your knee-jerk reaction to hearing the name Chekhov is “boring” then you haven’t seen Chekhov done properly.  He’s hilarious when he wants to be. (And yes, Two Jokes One Act is an exception to that “leaning away from established writers toward new plays” rule I normally have going.  Good comedy and good actors who do comedy well, and a director (Victoria Pyan) who knows how to stage farce, are all too rare, even at Fringe time.  You have to embrace the good stuff when you see it.  Plus, I personally know all these people deliver good theater - Zach, Aaron and Victoria have all acted in plays of mine, Laura and Victoria have directed plays of mine.  Knowing one person involved in a show makes it hard to resist.  Knowing everyone?  It’s on the schedule.)

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