ensemble theatre · independent · Ages 12+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 12, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

A dramatic idea nobody ever tackles, because no audience knows the context!

What I didn't like

Instead of keeping the necessary props on stage at all times, there are several lengthy blackouts in which the cast wrestles things on and off stage, which decidedly interrupts the flow of the action. And putting black costumes against a black wall is a very arguable choice.

My overall impression

Fringe is a festival for the Ambitious, and the Over-Ambitious, and this year NICAEA tackles the 325AD conference of 300 clerics that tackled the codification of Christian orthodoxy at the behest of Constantine (who never appears). The problem is that 80 minutes is not even enough time to properly introduce the 6 characters (who represent 300) let alone grapple with the single issue (of many) which propels this story—-with which very, very few people are at all familiar! Twice the length might have made it explicable—-with a cast with the gravitas to match these influential characters. (The use of a contemporary child, Kelton Lin, is inexplicable.) Morris Schorr has the advantage of age to aid his characterization, and Anthony Backman gave the most vivid performance—-but who in the hell was he, and what was his significance?
Whoever (the director?) forced the cast to wrestle props on and off the stage several times in the dark has something to answer for; they could better have stayed on the stage from the beginning! And choosing black costumes against a black wall is a design choice that is, to put it mildly, strange!

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