Moving Day by Jenny King and The Barrington Collective; Directed by Nathan Markiewicz
Rock, Paper, Scissors written and directed by Suzanne Willett
Produced by The Arctic Group
Part of the 2017 Fridge Festival
Off Off Broadway, Short Plays
Runs through 9.8.17
IRT Theater, 154 Christopher Street, 3B
by Emily Cordes on 9.4.17
Left: Jojo Ginn in Moving Day. Photo by OneMarch Photography.
Right: Anna Cain Bianco in Rock, Paper, Scissors. Photo by Charlotte Arnoux.
BOTTOM LINE: Stylistically varied and thematically linked, the two plays in Fridge Fest’s Block A explore the symbolism of this fundamental appliance.
If the kitchen is the heart of one’s home, the fridge may well be its guts; a storehouse for sustenance and a hub around which we gather, this humble fixture can hold our emotions as much as our leftovers. Through its inaugural Fridge Fest, The Arctic Group gives the refrigerator its full due—each of its short plays center on this oft-overlooked appliance. Block A’s lineup, Jenny King’s Moving Day and Suzanne Willett’s Rock, Paper, Scissors, offer two distinct variations on the fridge-as-metaphor theme.
In Moving Day, three young women confront rotting food and festering resentments as they clean out their shared apartment. Old friends and longtime roommates Joanne (Jojo Ginn), Kayla (Katie Morill), and Penny (playwright Jenny King) prepare to part ways when Kayla’s job promotion relocates her to an upscale condo. Frustrated with this change and Kayla’s seeming nonchalance, the petulant Joanne lays claim to Kayla’s ice cream maker, citing the trio’s years of bonding over her homemade treats. In the ensuing fight over the machine, Joanne and Kayla’s squabbling and Penny’s unsuccessful mediation reveal the history, hurt, and love the women share, and the significance of the things we take for granted. Whether we deal with physical or emotional clutter by latching on, letting go, or renegotiating, Moving Day invites us to consider whether “expiration dates are just guidelines.”
Suzanne Willett’s Rock, Paper, Scissors takes a stylized view of the fridge as a place of nourishment, as its protagonists seek, and fail, to find meaning within. The titular characters inhabit a stark no-man’s kitchen, its sole source of food and answers a grunting, oracular fridge filled with their inner “slime” (Tupperware containers of silly putty, cleverly labeled with emotional descriptions). In their relationships to their meals, environment, and companions, each character displays the qualities of the items they represent. Numb and impenetrable, Rock (Anna Cain Bianco) can process neither food nor feelings. Scissors (Emily Rahm), forever plundering the fridge and bullying her companions, cannot slake her bottomless hunger. The airy Paper (Pamela Karp ) drifts in and out of presence, an obsession with her cryptic dreams continually pulling her from reality. As their longings increase and the fridge’s messages grow more obtuse, Rock, Paper, and Scissors must determine if they can ever truly reach satisfaction.
Like the refrigerator itself, Fridge Fest holds a veritable feast of possibilities. Deceptively simple and refreshingly unorthodox, its central image prompts deeper inquiry and allows its writers' stylistic innovations to emerge. With five concurrent programs and ten original plays, this quirky new festival promises to please any theatrical palate.
(Fridge Fest Block A plays at IRT Theater, 54 Christopher Street, 3B, through September 8, 2017. Performances are 8/31 at 7, 9/2 at 9, 9/6 at 7, and 9/8 at 9. The running time is 75 minutes with one intermission. Tickets are $18; the 9 PM "Fill Our Fridge" performances are free with a canned good donation. For more information visit thearcticgroup.org.)
Moving Day is written by Jenny King and directed by Nathan Markiewicz. Produced by The Barrington Collective. The cast is Katie Morrill, Jojo Ginn, and Jenny King.
Rock, Paper, Scissors is written and directed by Suzanne Willett. Stage Manager is Leanne Convis. The cast is Emily Rahm, Pamela Karp, and Anna Cain Bianco.