“Start Swimming” Needs to go in The Deep End

By Ernest Kearney — The Indomitus Theatre Company is young…. Very young.

They are in the flush of discovery of the power and the magic that is the wonder of stage. I have no doubt that as they gather more years and more experience that they will do some wonderful work.

The problem with their premiere production of Start Swimming, by James Fritz, is not that it lacks in talent, but that that talent is unleavened.

Directed and choreographed by Alexandra Fiallos Start Swimming, onstage at the Broadwater during 2019’s Hollywood Fringe, falls into the double whammy that is the curse of all pupa creative souls in their effort to metamorphosis into maturity, they reinvent the wheel and emerge coated in preciousness.

Five masked players (Maria Camacho, Justice Quinn, Laurent Sayer, Ethan Stachelek and Joey Aquino) occupy the stage.

“What’cha doing here?” they demand of each other and the audience.

Wrong answers are countered with harsh buzzers, “right” answers approved by a bell.

Their masks fall off as their anger grows, hinted perhaps that it is our rages at injustice that makes us both individuals and serves to unite us.

Indomitus seeks to be “bold, wild and fierce” but only manages to come off “mild, disorderly and naughty.” They lack, to use a Flamenco term, “garra.”

This is reflected in their mask work especially (Which are nicely designed – I’m assuming by Sharly Kama).

Masks are ritualistic.

Masks are the unknowable.

Masks are unfathomable.

Masks are not props unless you’re doing a musical on Zorro or the Phantom of the Opera.

I think of Mummenschanz, Theatre Témoin or Teatro Delusio: theatre companies that know the magic of the mask.

I take this work’s title Start Swimming as the company’s response to the old conservative saw, to “sink or swim,” so we can credit their sensibilities as being inclined towards the right direction.

The flaw of the production is its lack of ripeness, which will not be a flaw if the process of maturation continues, and this staging is not without merit.

The actors all display talent, especially Sayer and Aquino, and Kama’s costumes show intelligence in their selection.

And whatever else may be lacking here, sincerity is certainly not. Silver Medal (via The TVolution)

For that The Tvolution’s:

SILVER MEDAL.

For Complete Show Schedule and Ticket Information Go To: http://hff19.org/5700

Keep up with other Fringe happenings. Explore the website: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/

Find out more about  Indomitus Theatre at indomitustheatre.com


 

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. 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.

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