Saturday, July 30, 2011

KC Fringe "Eric Hermannson's Soul" review by artfun

 Nice to hear Cather's words
Rating: 4

Eric Hermannson's Soul
KC Fringe Festival

This was an interesting choice for Fringe KC, more traditional than most of the offerings and it offered a welcome change of pace.

The young cast told the story with earnest conviction.  They could have placed a tad more trust in Cather's evocative descriptions and taken a bit more time savoring the words, painting the pictures:

"It is a painful thing to watch the light die out of the eyes of those Norsemen, leaving an expression of impenetrable sadness, quite passive, quite hopeless, a shadow that is never lifted. With some this change comes almost at once, in the first bitterness of homesickness, with others it comes more slowly, according to the time it takes each man's heart to die."

"The girls were all boisterous with delight. Pleasure came to them but rarely, and when it came, they caught at it wildly and crushed its fluttering wings in their strong brown fingers. They had a hard life enough, most of them. Torrid summers and freezing winters, labour and drudgery and ignorance, were the portion of their girlhood; a short wooing, a hasty, loveless marriage, unlimited maternity, thankless sons, premature age and ugliness, were the dower of their womanhood."

"...the new day was gilding the corn-tassels and flooding the uplands with light"

This is powerful writing and moving through it quickly in a well-intended effort to move the story along can sometimes have the unintended consequence of homogenizing the subtle allusions and metaphors.

Some nice staging, especially with the wild ponies.  There may be a few more opportunities for creative staging that also allow us to feast more deeply on the words such as selective slow motion during the excitement and release of a social dance which is such a pivotal point in the narrative.

Cather is a fine choice for exporting to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I think this performance will be well received.

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