Thursday, July 26, 2012

KC Fringe "Dandelion Chains" review by Detailer

Dandelion Chains weaves a strong story
Rating: 3

Dandelion Chains 
KC Fringe Festival

Shanna Shrum tells a story about love, prejudice, anger, care, and forgiveness by  playing several characters who are connected in some way, with a recurring motif of dandelions and sea-foam green.

Once I understood who people were and how they were connected, I was totally absorbed by the powerful story.  This is an excellent story, worth hearing.

Shanna’s first character confused me.  I thought she was home talking to her baby because of what I heard, but her focus and body language contradicted that for me.  I didn’t buy that she was connecting with her baby, and her movements were not naturally the movements of a mother calming her baby back to sleep at home.  But the fact that she seemed to be wearing a nightgown didn’t make sense for her to be anywhere else talking to anyone else.  Overall, I just didn’t quite believe that first character, and that delayed my getting into the story.

I really liked the way she portrayed the pregnant girl.  Very good character shift, and very believable movements and style of speaking.  The way she said parallelogram was quite funny in its context.

However, I still was not getting the true story.  It seemed that this was going to be a piece about different people who happen to have some sort of connection to dandelions and maybe sea-foam green.

Part of the problem for me may be the sound quality of the recordings.  Telephone calls fill the time when she is changing costume between characters, and I couldn’t understand all the words.

But Shanna’s second character was fascinating enough that I was intrigued to see who I would meet next.

I was very confused by Frank during most of his monologue.  But there came a point when all came into focus, and from that moment I was hooked by the power of the story.

I particularly liked her Polish maid.

For me the biggest drawback is her attention to detail in costuming, which makes costume changes very long.  Telephone calls don’t completely cover the time.   I would prefer that Shanna just use one piece to suggest a character change, and not worry about shoes and hair.

It would help me if the quality of the recordings could be improved so I could understand the words of the telephone calls and the recorded interviews better.

I would like some way to identify the flashback, to help me get into the story sooner.

But the story captured my attention and my emotions, and at the end of the evening I was glad I had heard it.

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