Monday, August 16, 2010

FringeNYC 14: PigPen Presents: The Nightmare Story

I may not want to smooch this delightful (45 MINUTE!) show by PigPen Theatre, but I may want to adopt it. From the moment you enter The Club at LaMaMa you pretty much know you're going to have a nice time. The members of the cast are playing (something like) Ukrainian folk music on a guitar, accordion, fiddle, banjo and a drum made out of a wooden box. They joke around with each other, their door person and the audience in the most laid back and charming way possible. They are relaxed on stage in the way only the most confident of performers can manage. And they play very, very well. And there is table service in the venue, so you can have a drink.

The show itself is a made up Ukrainian folk tale told in song and puppets and story telling and theater. It weaves tales within tales and is incredibly funny and creepy and disturbing and true, like all the best fairy tales. A young boy's mother is dying from the dread Nightmare Disease and must travel to find the flower that will save her. The journey is full of monsters and death. And is hilarious and loose and genuine. The five young men who perform the piece seem to hardly break a sweat as they accomplish something that is so difficult to do, I've almost never seen it done right. Take a fairy tale, make it culturally specific (there were a couple of lines in Russian and my Russian speaking theater-going companion said they were funny, too), add songs, add several different kinds of puppetry, make it very, very funny, do it on a shoe-string, make it look beautiful.

PigPen Presents: The Nightmare Story
Writer: Alex Falberg, Arya Shahi, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Daniel Weschler, Matt Nuernberger, Ryan Melia
The Club@LaMaMa, 74A East 4th Street
remaining performances: Wed 18 @ 9, Fri 20 @ 4:45, Sat 21 @ 7

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