Ali Kresch delivers a collage of expressions in Mendacity, (written & directed by Lauren Rayner) an experimental visually striking solo performance with a poignant and healing look into the uncomfortable yet significant and much needed subject of rape and the self destruction that could sadly ripple after. Ms. Rayner sharing her own personal stories of sexual assault for the stage is undeniably no small feat. She has also interviewed other women to develop this show that is described as a word-collage. This is a very accurate description for the show, as Ms. Kresch repeats certain words to reiterate their meanings in her story and the way different inflections create different emotions. Unfortunately this a compelling show does not make. There is no driving plot-line to keep us fully focused or to appreciate the important message Ms. Rayner is trying to convey.
Yet if I was to walk into Mendacity at the Museum of Modern Art as an installation art piece it would enrapture the audience and get the message across. I wonder if the Kraine Theater was a disservice to the piece and how effective would it have been, rather, in Under St. Mark’s which is another one of the FRIGID venues. It’s a tricky decision to make when the show is selling out and receiving extra performances. To find fault on this piece is very uncomfortable because of the cause it is tied to and what it tries to communicate. I found myself rooting for every second, moment and kernel of what was being created on stage to work.
Restricted in a small black PVC tube structure, Kresch shows us her physical dexterity as she uses movement to narrate her stories as complimenting images are projected behind her. The choreography is the standout of the show, creating an urgency to her words and a vulnerability that might have otherwise been stifled. Best moments of Mendacity are when other characters are brought into the mix and we get to see Kresch skilfully portray different personas. Sprinkling more of these moments would help the show tremendously.
Mendacity would be a great piece for the high-school and college circuit; an admirable work with potential.
Written & Directed by Lauren Rayner New York, NY
Presented by Blame Your Fate Productions New York, NY MENDACITY – newly added performance March 11th at 8:30pm at The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street in New York City.
FRIGID New York Festival 2011 runs February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.