The Happiest Medium welcomes guest contributor Rebecca Bernard
Billed as a “Story of adventure!” Paper Plane
, the new collaborative music-play produced by the company 3 Sticks, takes us on a ride that is at once poetical, surprising and of vast proportions. The story follows an innocent young boy of 11 1/2 against the backdrop of the Great Depression. He lives alone with his down-trodden father due to the untimely death of his mother, whom he knows little about. After discovering a letter in his father’s possession that links his mother to a visiting barnstormer, the boy departs on a magical journey through train cars, forests and broken-down carnivals, following a paper plane as it floats across the sky.
Channelling a bit of realism, dream sequence and a large use of physicality, the writing for this show is comprised of many layers. Original music and lyrics written by cast member Andrew Lynch are integral to the performance, shifting from melodically ambient underscoring to numbers that stand in the forefront and are sung by the cast. The rolling theme he has written is quite memorable in addition to a few of the character pieces that pop. Co-directors Eric Powell Holm and Katie Melby delicately weave all of these separate elements together.
Much of the magic of this piece lies in its inventive manipulation of props. Using only a ladder, a rolling scaffolding and a few umbrellas, the strong cast of 5 inventively paints story book scenes of the dust bowl, while also switching in and out of multiple roles. The boy, Joshua Windom, played by Katie Melby, is a likable protagonist, filled with an open-hearted earnestness that endears himself so much to the audience that when Melby appears later in a bittersweet scene as Joshua’s mother, she is almost unrecognizable, proving her versatility and elegance of movement in addition to boyish charm.
Elizabeth Stahlmann delivers a fiery Leslie, filled with adventure and bravado while maintaining a strong articulation in her transformations from character to character. Lynch, in addition to his musicianship, proves to be a versatile character actor, standing out as the Barker in his strong use of vocality. Daniel Moser adeptly delivers performances on both sides of the spectrum, playing Joshua’s heartbroken father and a chilling antagonist filled with foreboding in his cleverly construed walk. John Egan also imparts strong supporting roles, especially as the Baron, as he delivers a charismatic, swindling song towards the end of the show.
There is poetry in prevailing hardship, when something delicate can be seen persevering against the odds. Through adventure and poetry, Paper Plane shows us what can happen when a paper plane hits the right gust of the wind and goes to places you’ve never imagined. There are two more Paper Planes at Fringe NYC, make sure not to miss them!
: Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lynch, Text by Nick Ryan, Creation by the Ensemble
: Katie Melby and Eric Holm
From the creators of Le Gourmand or Gluttony, Paper Plane is an adventure story set amongst the dust bowl train tracks and barnstorming exhibitions of the Great Depression, about a young boy hopping freight trains in the American midwest.
1h 0m Local Brooklyn, New York
VENUE #14: New Ohio Theatre
Fri 10 @ 9:30 Tue 14 @ 5:15 Wed 15 @ 9:30 Wed 22 @ 2 Sun 26 @ 2