—>Alaina reviews the Fringefest show, The Momentum, which starts as a parody and takes a surprising turn. –the artblog editors——————->
In the warm, dingy, wood-paneled basement of Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church on Chestnut Street, a wobbly ceiling fan went tink tink tink tink as it labored over the audience on Saturday afternoon. They sat in a few rows of folding chairs on a large square of ancient orange linoleum, facing the battered wooden proscenium.
The setting heightened the comedy in the opening shots of “The Momentum,” written and performed by Goeffrey Decas, Boo Killebrew, and Jordan Seavey. The CTown (“C” for collaboration) show was in Philly for the Fringe Festival through September 14th.
Smiling with a maniacal anticipation, the performing trio opened the show by applauding determinedly from the stage, and the audience obediently followed suit.
What is “The Momentum”? Some kind of motivational program parody, it would seem from the show’s first half. The playbill offers a list of “Momentum Aids” merchandise worthy of Tony Robbins or Joel Osteen: “The Advanced Guide to the Momentum” book and CD for $29.95, workbooks for $19.99 and a framed “Energy Dolphin Poster” for $129.95.
Decas explained the Momentum in a long, frenetic monologue. “When I’m riding the Momentum I feel like I’m riding a giant dolphin,” he said. “I feel like a dolphin who just killed a Great White Shark.” Or a dolphin with lasers on its forehead (used only for good, of course). The Momentum is as fervent as it is nonsensical.
Director Lee Sunday Evans positioned the cast in a series of triangles, speaking in a roving mix of monologues and choral declamations suspended between tensely smiling silences. Characters emerged from the trio-ensemble to learn that embracing the Momentum of your “vision image future self” does not mean knowing thyself.
“I fear that negative thoughts will give me terminal cancer,” one gulped. A mimed baked potato gave way to an extended metaphor about a rock-star squirrel that discovers the joys of family with the help of a tycoon raccoon’s hit reality show.
“Just like every other middle-class person in their mid- to late-twenties, I was running my own PR firm,” begins another anecdote.
The cast pelted each other with “rocks” of made of crumpled paper. “Pain is a myth!” they cried. “Internal organs bursting is a myth!”
And then without warning, the show left all traces of the Momentum behind in favor of three monologues about love and heartbreak in the modern world. Decas, Killebrew and Seavey all brought remarkable humor and pathos, but Killebrew shone in a brilliantly-realized closing monologue about a doomed adult romance. The course of this lovelorn story, told in the second person, was as mundane as it was emotionally gripping.
But anyone trying to figure out when and why the mock-motivational seminar became a monologue-ing meditation on twenty and thirty-something love and loss will probably be in the dark. With all its disparate charms, “The Momentum” is at least two shows in one with nary a guidepost between.
“The Momentum,” co-created by performers Geoffrey Decas, Boo Killebrew and Jordan Seavey, as well as TJ Witham and Director Lee Sunday Evans, was presented by the New York-based CTown. It ran at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia through September 14th as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.