By Quincy Confoy; Directed by Kevin Confoy
Produced by Generation Next
Part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 8.27.15
VENUE #5: The Celebration of Whimsy a.k.a. The C.O.W., 21 Clinton Street
by Aiden Dreskin on 8.20.15
BOTTOM LINE: Two siblings conspire to kill their mother and steal her prize money as unfiltered fantasy and rampant buffoonery bounce off of each other.
Murder is in the air around the dinner table in Win for Life: A Corny Play, written by 17-year-old Quincy Confoy, and directed by her father Kevin Confoy. This one-room farce tells the story of a mother who wins the Jolly Green Giant Creamed Corn Sweepstakes, and the ill-conceived fantasies that her children act out in an attempt to rob her of her prize. Hilarity ensues when the brother and sister find themselves in over their heads and over-committed to a plan that the audience can tell, quite palpably, is doomed to fail. Playing on typical tropes in family dynamics that are likely all too familiar, the Confoys and their team still manage to seduce and surprise in this very corny comedy.
The small family of characters, each sufficiently eccentric in their own way, begins the play already at wit's end with one another. Millie (John Lenartz) a coupon-cutting, Elvis-worshiping mother of two, is more than a little critical of her children Geoff (Connor Carew), an unemployed, newly single wannabe Buddhist, and Margo (Morgan Rosse), a lawyer in the big city. Win for Life starts out appropriately dry and uncomfortable, as Millie, portrayed by Lenartz with posture and power, berates Geoff for all of his failures in life. When she wins one million dollars and intends to spend it all on a month vacation at Graceland (yes, really, Graceland), her kids resolve to kill her and use the money to help people who really need it, like themselves.
Carew and Rosse's sibling chemistry carries much of the action of the show, with their comical rapport underscoring many of the events that unfold. It is a joy to experience, through these two characters, the vicarious pleasure of the childhood fantasy of wishing death upon one of your family members. As circumstances escalate, Geoff and Margo are joined by Millie's boyfriend Hank (given exuberant life by Kevin Confoy). Confoy's entrance to these dark shenanigans continues to complicate matters and drives the pace of the performance up to truly climactic levels—an impressive feat to accomplish while also directing the play. The strong performances by the cast do a lot to bolster the strength of the lively, though often predictable, script.
Though great for a laugh, in the back of its mind Win for Life: A Corny Play makes one think more seriously about fantasies: what they do to people, and what people will do in pursuit of them. If your biggest dream were suddenly within your grasp, how far would you reach to grab it? What if it were taken away? The Confoys afford us the luxury of watching what happens when people give in to all their desires and bulldoze through the obstacles that stand in their way. With this complex and entertaining farce, Ms. Confoy—despite her age, a playwright with a long and prodigious resume—demonstrates an excellent understanding of the art of storytelling, and shows promise as a new artist in New York.
(Win For Life: A Corny Play plays at VENUE #5: The Celebration of Whimsy a.k.a. The C.O.W., 21 Clinton Street, through August 27, 2015. Performances are Mon 8/17 at 4:30; Tue 8/18 at 9:15; Fri 8/21 at 9; Sun 8/23 at 12:15; and Thu 8/27 at 4:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit www.winforlifenyc.com.)