Written and Directed by Rachel Kerry
Part of Horse Trade's FRIGID New York
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 3.5.16
The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street
by Adrienne Urbanski on 2.22.16
Lizzy Ana Lincoln and Sarah Wilhelm in Seven Fragments. Photo by Ian Prince.
BOTTOM LINE: An emotional and dramatic look at high school heartbreak delivered with authenticity.
Adolescence is for many people a time of great emotional intensity when disappointments and heartbreak can feel life-ending. This fact makes sense of the emotional turmoil rolling through Seven Fragments, which chronicles the extreme despair felt by one high school girl as she faces her first feelings of sexual rejection. Said character is known simply as “The Smart Girl” (Sarah Wilhelm). Her life is thrown for a loop when she encounters “The New Girl” (Lizzy Ana Lincoln). They become fast friends and New Girl teaches Smart Girl about the world that exists outside of her sheltered existence. Smart Girl meanwhile helps New Girl learn to focus on her schoolwork and study enough to ace the tests. Some intense intimacy is displayed between the two as they recline on each other’s laps, kiss each other on the cheek, and talk about sex. This closeness, however, leads to the friendship being ripped apart when Smart Girl confesses to New Girl that she has a crush on her and would like to date her. New Girl is mortified and runs away from Smart Girl which causes Smart Girl to fall into a deep depression. She attempts to numb her pain by drinking to the point of blacking out everyday. She moves in agony against a series of colorful projections on stage symbolizing her aching heart. Smart Girl's angst is also expressed through The Narrator (Lizzy Jutila) who serves as a sort of Greek chorus of one as she elucidates the pain and yearning that darkens Smart Girl’s days while donning a white painted mask. A clever ending shows Smart Girl learning that the cycle of heartbreak is a part of life.
Seven Fragments is an overly emotional and dramatic piece rife with the types of lines a high school poet might scrawl into a tear-stained notebook during math class. I am sure, however, that this is precisely the effect playwright and director Rachel Kerry was going for, and she captures the emotional rollercoaster of coming-of-age with authenticity. Actor Sarah Wilheim also delivers her character’s tortured and dramatic lines with enough nuance and authenticity to make them seem believable. Kerry’s script might have seemed cloyingly over the top in lesser hands, but the cast manages to create empathy for their characters’ pain and confusion.
(Seven Fragments plays at the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street, as part of FRIGID New York through March 5, 2016. The running time is one hour with no intermission. Remaining performances are February 23 at 8:50; February 27 at Noon; and March 5 at 5. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. More information can be found online at frigidnewyork.info.)
Seven Fragments is written and directed by Rachel Kerry. Video Design is by Rachel Kerry. Lighting Design is by Zachary Spitzer.
The cast is Sarah Wilheim, Lizzy Ana Lincoln, and Lizzy Jutila.