‘Puppet Parables’ Closes Strong With Talent

By Ernest Kearney  —  Puppeteer Jean Minuchin’s Still Life of an Orange and Other Puppet Parables starts off strong and closes strong but… somewhere along the way, the middle falls out, leaving a center that doesn’t seem connected to the creative bookends it’s wedged between.

The show opens with a social fairy tale of the three little piggies, being threatened to be uprooted by gentrification.  The tale is cleverly told with shadow puppets inspired by the Balinese culture.

This leads into a short film about an artist and AIDS activist who struggles to cope with the insecurity of her subsidized housing as well as the ravages of her illness.  The piece ends with a retelling of Genesis in which Minuchin plays a very loving, if somewhat bemused, Creator.

Minuchin’s artistry and puppetry skills are undeniable and present overall.

bronze ribbon - Fringe FestivalIt is just in the middle section, where Minuchin pours out a basket of “trash,” (from which she proceeds to configure forms slightly human in nature) that the through line becomes muddled.

Whether the “trash” is her take on the Scripture’s handful of dust is unclear, and this lack of clarity impedes the impact that she has set up and dilutes the strength of the closing.

A re-working and reexamination of her intention would serve her well and, sadly, though her evident talents deserve more, the show rates a BRONZE MEDAL.


♦      ♦      ♦

The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018 is officially closed. However, several shows have been extended.

Looking for more Fringe?

For more information on Still Life of an Orange and Other Puppet Parables, to
view the list of show extensions and for all Fringe updates click HERE.

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Written by

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. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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