Contributed by Khadijjah Mote
Summer in the city has always reminded me of two things: live concerts and live theater. Live theater rings bells from every corner in this great city, and the Indie Theater world never ceases to amaze eager audiences looking for something raw and fresh. With so much happening in the theater circuit, one can't help but to hear the buzz going around about InViolet Repertory Company's performance of "This Is Fiction" written by Megan Hart, directed by Shelley Butler and performing at Cherry Lane Studios. Shelley Butler's take on a close to home story; being a native New Jerseyan myself. Aubyn Philabaum plays a young rebellious Amy, returning home to suburban New Jersey after fleeing one bad situation after another. A life that she leaves far behind after her venture off to college to excite herself with more than what home had to offer. Philabaum's portrayal of Amy, a self absorbed damsel in distress, showed much contrast to the other characters, sticking out like a sore thumb in her own home. A home that is being relived in a biographical novel she plans on writing about her sick father and alcohol addicted mother.
Within that home is a bitter big sister, played by Michelle David, who's life lead her to taking care of a senile father and not getting to live the life her younger sister left them for. David effortlessly carries the hurt Celia, with sharp humor and intense emotional hurt, one can't help but to wish to simply give her a hug and thank her for staying behind to care for her family. Something she grudges after her younger sister, Amy.
The most rewarding performance of the night goes to the lovable senile father, brilliantly played by Richard Masur. Seeing him perform live was like finding a four leaf clover, so very lucky. With ticks and quirks, he stole the show with his charm and loving spirit. You felt bad for him because it was never quite certain if he ever really knew the fate of his wife, or if it was something he intentionally blocked out in order to find harmony in his household. Nonetheless, his performance is definitely a must-see.
I'm eager to see what's next for InViolet Rep, but I'm sure if that's what they have to start off with, there's no telling where their season could take itself. All that is certain is that you can definitely count me in attendance.
Khadijjah Mote, Innovative Theatre Foundation OutReach Intern