Boy, do I love funny plays. Those laugh out loud – gut-bursting ones are the best. Spirit Tales has just been added to my list. Told in three parts: ‘O Sole Mio…. the search for love’, ‘Lilith Returns…the struggle for justice’, ‘and Drinking from the Blue Lake…the pursuit of wisdom’, this play is filled to the brim with hilarity. It’s the performances by this small cast that make the play what it is.
The highlights are Stuart Fischer who portrays Larry, Marty and Mort and Melissa B. Robinson who portrays Auntie Josephine and Lilith. Fisher brings life to each character. His Larry, eager for a date, is nervous, jittery, lacks confidence, but aches for love. Marty is weakened by a more powerful lawyer and Mort is a sympathetic businessman to a Native American woman and her land. His performances are perfection on stage. Robinson is a hoot as Auntie Josephine and thrilling to watch as Lilith. Each of her characters is there to help one who can’t help himself. The supporting cast of Jerry Schuchman as Bob, Luce, Arthur, Linda Gabriel Deutsch as Marilyn, Alex, Sooleawa, Manolo Santalla as Big Guy, and Matthew Deutsch as John are just as effective in their respective roles. Each of the three parts of this play tackles serious issues and sprinkles them with humor to get the message across. Leon Levenson’s work sizzles on stage. He makes it appear easy to fall in love, fight a corporate sleaze ball, leave a sacred land in peace. That’s what makes this stage play superb. It is sometimes so very hard to do any or all of those things, but you want to try just watching these characters navigate life.
Sets like the one used for this play are the best, simply because without all the fuss of fancy lighting and elaborate set designs, the actors are really given a chance to shine. The focus is on the play itself and not the details of the set. The four walls are black. The floor is black. The four large cube-sized boxes are black. Darkness hovers, but doesn’t take away from the central message of the play. The boxes are used as a bed, chairs, a mini-bar and a haven for snakes, simultaneously moved around by the characters. The actors are so amazing in this play that I found that I really didn’t care about the set. It was a backdrop to the glorious performances. With so many performances at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival – you have to choose wisely. You won’t regret making the choice to see Spirit Tales.
Spirit Tales information and tickets.