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Ruby Wilder – The Wilder The Better (Fringe Festival 2010)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on August 16, 2010

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Ruby Wilder

I hadn’t intended to see Ruby Wilder, but boy am I glad that I mistakenly stood in front of the wrong theatre for 20 minutes waiting for my show to begin; it gave me an opportunity to meet and chat with a terrific new talent –  Eric Hoff – who I hope I can interview in the future.  Turns out, missing my show was fortuitous because it led me right to the unique, eerie, funny, sleazy, rip-roaring world of Ruby Wilder.  And what a world that is.

Ruby Wilder (written by Brooke Allen and directed by Eric Hoff) starts with a bang . . . or the promise of one.  Soon enough though, more than you expected begins to happen – Ruby (Julie Cowden) could be a victim or she could be the victimizer, people in the room could be part of her life as it’s happening, figments of her dreams, or even elements of the story she’s piecing together – - a story which may or may not get to play out.  There’s even The Ghost of Sister Past – Junebug (Jennifer Incorvaia) who shimmies and twirls her way around the floor like a strung out tutu clad effigy of childhood lost.

This tightly directed story is a ballet of pain and of promise, and despite the inclusion of an ironic Narrator (Derek Czaplewski) who can’t be shushed aside, there’s no telling where this story will end up.

Coming at you from all sides emotionally, mentally and even physically, the story of Ruby Wilder can’t be told linearly and therefore it isn’t.   In Ruby’s  world the present interacts with the past by way of a metaphor and  the “ah ha” moments are so frequent that you lose count.

Ruby Wilder grabs you with “eerie”, then smacks you across the face with “funny” and does it all without sacrificing tone, plot, or story arc.  In my book, that’s just about as perfect as a show that comes in just over 1 hour can be.  In fact – although it’s compactly written and economically directed – the balance of humor, violence, pathos, humanity and rapture are so equal that there’s hardly a tremor as it swiftly skates from sadness to seductive to scary.

To even begin to explain the plot would be to give away too much – and this gal has already had too much taken from her.  This is her story to tell and I’ll be fair to her and let her deliver it to you.

But I will say this – spend one hour with this gal, her sister, her devoted, sweet, but ever-more-frustrated fiance Harper (Neal Starbird), and her mysterious stranger who can charm you and horrify you in the same moment (Josh Odor) and you’ll be haunted by her story for a long, long time.  With just one show left, clear your schedule and see for yourself how the story ends.


Ruby Wilder

Writer: Brooke Allen
Director: Eric Hoff

1h 10m
VENUE #9: The Robert Moss Theater
Click below to purchase tickets for the final show.

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