Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Evacuated at Fringe.

Erika Kate MacDonald told an unforgettable story of her time in Indonesia as an exchange student at Fringe this year. She recreated the bustle and excitement of the crowded city, often stopping to explain what some exotic word might mean. She was so well versed in the language and culture that she might forget to explain every nuance.

To explain the beauty found in the culture she decided to sing a song about a popsicle.  The song was so lyrical and moving but was only about walking with a frozen desert. 

Erika described an evening as she tried to go to sleep. In the corner of the room was a strange scraping sound; something was trying to climb the wall. it would get half way up and then collapse back down to the ground. She lay in bed terrified not sure what to do. So, she decided to research what it might be. She never found the answer but the book fell out of her hands and crushed whatever it was. 

She described an evening swimming in the pool with friends and seeing what looked like shooting stars. The flashes came at regular intervals until she finally realized that they weren't stars at all. The flashes were actually bats flying through the spot lights. There was magic and mystery all around her.

Then came a day when all the TV stations showed news of uprisings in Jakarta. In a particularly jarring scene with flashing colored club lights, Erica recreated a plea of a woman telling everyone to get out of the country, that foreigners were not welcome. Foreigners had to be evacuated. The exchange students went to the airport as fast as they could with the help of others, but flights were booked. They returned day after day trying to escape. The uncertainty and fear of the students and parents became visceral in her telling.

This show had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This kind of straight forward storytelling is why the Fringe Festival is so magical. Personal experience can come alive when played out on the stage.



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