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“Sparrow” — (A Review)

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017 By Ernest Kearney — It is always a pity when a show falls through the cracks, and with 375 shows that is not an altogether uncommon occurrence.    The Tempest Theatre production of Sparrow was unfortunately such a show.  After arriving in L.A. from Perth, both director and performer of this one woman show fell victim to jet lag flu and were forced to cancel their first performance: Once lost, momentum is difficult to regain.

Sparrow is based on the true story of Mollie Skinner, who lived in Australia at the beginning of the 20th century. It is the tale of a woman born, with a cleft lip, into a world that offered those of her sex few recourses in life other than marriage and motherhood.  Then later in life, the deaths of those closest to her and illness would afflict her with loneliness, isolation and blindness.  She has a chance encounter with the great English author D.H. Lawrence, who she finds “unfinished, like music,” and between them develops a lifelong correspondence.  Lawrence would provide Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionher with the encouragement to life beyond the constricting expectation of others and her society and she would provide D.H. Lawrence with the inspiration that lead to his novel The Boy in the Bush; one of the greatest novels of the Australia landscape.

As both playwright and director Susie Conte has created a piece of strength and sincerity, and this in turn has unfolded onto the superb performance by Kylie Maree.  As Skinner, Maree achieves such an understated honesty that we the audience embrace each of Skinner’s tragedies as our own.  In this story of triumph, Maree is triumphant in her performance.

A GOLD MEDAL.

 

♦    ♦    ♦

 

Closing its run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017

Sparrow

Has moved south to play at

The San Diego Fringe Festival

The Spreckel’s Theatre
121 Broadway, San Diego, 92101

 


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Written by

<p>An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, “Among the Vipers” was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.</p>

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