Fringe Fest Review #2:
Paper Glass, performed by Monica Dionysiou (MonTra Performance)
Fringe Fest, by nature of itself, often harbors a large percentage of one-person shows, which can range from pure storytelling to performance art, with everything in between. Mainly this is because of how Fringe Fests work–often the shows travel to various festivals or are touring shows in other ways and perforce must be small in cast and simple in tech. And the thing about the one-person show as a particular theatrical monster, is that often a one-person show demands indulgence from the audience. Sometimes unfairly.
Monica Dionysiou has a way of filling a room with her presence that makes any moments of indulgence worthwhile at best, forgivable at worst. She has concocted a mosaic of what feels like memoir with material from Lewis Carroll and the result is a paper-strewn journey into the heart of what rules mean, and what goes into a journey into learning.
Paper Glass is a piece surrounded and threaded through with paper: letters appear out of nowhere and change at the drop of a crumpled note. The backdrop of the first section is a dictation of white sheets of paper which, once they are torn down, reveal a pleasing backdrop of a light web in front of more white paper. Finding meaning in the messages is a fitting theme for a piece that channels and echoes Lewis Carroll, after all.
The strengths of Paper Glass lie in the repetition, almost chant or mantra-like, of certain Carrollian clips, as the meaning of the words devolve into pure sound and rhythm, accompanied by the rustle of paper, and more paper. Sometimes the audience is allowed to see/read the messages written thereon, sometimes not, but all pieced together it becomes something akin to the Carrollian madness from which it takes its inspiration.
For more information about MonTra Performance and/or the Boulder International Fringe Festival, visit their website.