Written, Performed, and Directed by Lindsay Beamish and Amanda Vitiello
Produced by Millions of Maps Productions
Part of the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 8.27.16
VENUE #4: Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street
by Regina Robbins on 8.22.16
Amanda Vitiello and Lindsay Beamish in Wigs. Photo by John Hansen.
BOTTOM LINE: An intriguing portrayal of young women in extremis that makes us ask whether we really understand the difference between "real" and "fake."
They sing. They dance. They play pretend. They make plans. The two young women at the center of Wigs find themselves in the most extreme of circumstances (all of which we must infer; straightforward dialogue is in short supply), yet their every word and gesture seems completely reasonable, given their situation.
Lindsay Beamish and Amanda Vitiello have created in Wigs a piece that is structurally simple yet thematically complex. They play, respectively, Ruthie and Jenny, two girls, or women, in captivity. It’s hard to know how old they are because they are constantly playacting—sometimes to meet the demands of an unseen man, sometimes for their own purposes. One moment Ruthie is a frightened child, the next a sultry seductress. Jenny sometimes seems like a motherly figure, sometimes like a bossy big sister. How much of their personalities are their own, and how much has been shaped by what’s happened to them? Beamish and Vitiello are completely convincing in their difficult roles; it’s hard to imagine there are better performances being given in the Fringe this year.
Wigs is proof that actor-driven devised work can yield superb results. It is focused and totally absorbing. For fellow theatre-makers, the parallels between the piece itself and the act of creating it are impossible to ignore, and raise tantalizing questions; for astute civilians, there is also plenty to reflect on in the spectacle of two vulnerable women, barely dressed, performing a series of female archetypes (or stereotypes) ostensibly for their captor, but in reality, for us. At the Fringe, the busiest, most madcap shows tend to hog the attention, but like the room in which its characters are trapped, Wigs’ modest scale shouldn't be allowed to obscure the fact that it contains its own intricate world.
(Wigs plays at VENUE #4: Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, through August 27, 2016. The running time is 50 minutes. Performances are Sat 8/20 at 3; Mon 8/22 at 3:15; Wed 8/24 at 9; Thu 8/25 at 7:30; and Sat 8/27 at 5:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit .)
Wigs is written, performed, and directed by Lindsay Beamish and Amanda Vitiello. Lighting Design is by Zac Goin. Stage Manager is Ryan Kane.