Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FringeNYC benefits: "Forgetting The Details"

Nicole Maxali (photo: Paciano Triunfo)

Forgetting The Details
Written and performed by Nicole Maxali
Directed by Paul Stein

No, I'm not really picking only solo shows at the Fringe on purpose. But, if you want to see an expert and thoroughly enjoyable one, pick this: Nicole Maxali's Forgetting The Details at Studio 440's White Box. California born-and-raised, this Filipina-American performer gets it all right, quickly dunking us into the flow of things as she draws canny portraits of her family members--divorced mom gleefully knocking back tequilas as she joins Maxali in a San Francisco bar to watch the Giants win World Series 2010; musician dad, with his history of drug addiction, surreptitiously offering her pot so she doesn't experiment out on the street; and, most of all, her adored "Lola" (Tagalog for grandma) endlessly serving up ice cream and meddlesome, loving advice.

So, I'm sure you can tell Forgetting The Details is not innovative, experimental theater. It's a personal performance trading in nostalgia about family and culture and takes you places that you fully expect to go--although not always when you expect to get there. It's like a short visit with a complete stranger who ends up being totally forthcoming, warm and delightfully funny. You will quickly feel that you know Maxali very well.

The show is seamless, polished, well-paced over its 75-minutes and coherent. Maxali renders it with skill and handsome discipline in storytelling and impersonations--voices, body language, gestures, facial expressions and overall energy and physicality every bit as convincing as the subtle, underlying compassion she reveals. In its intricate complexity, her monologue is a feat of prodigious memory, too--an ironic fact, considering that Forgetting The Details largely deals with how she and her family cope with her Lola's mental decline.

Maxali is an unforgettable performer, one I'd be eager to see meet any number of challenges in theater. I'm a believer.

Remaining shows:

Friday, August 15, 9:30pm
Sunday, August 17, 7:45pm
Thursday, August 21, 2pm
Friday, August 22, 5:30pm
Saturday, August 23, 3pm

The White Box
440 Lafayette St, 3rd Floor (Astor Place and East 4th Street), Manhattan

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