ALICE (Aleksandra Berczynski & MBgruparealizacji): 2016 Fringe review 4

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Once again, Aleksandra Berczynski provides an unpolished gem of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Her twenty-minute, one-woman show ALICE takes an idiosyncratically personal look at human sadness in its many seemingly happy guises.

In Berczynski’s hands, a bubbly reading of a uplifting children’s book on companionship—a “bright-eyed” mouse wears down a bear’s resistance to friendship and seals it with hard-to-get coquetry—reveals the deep loneliness which underlies our search for company. Her character—blond-wigged, attractive Alice—dons glasses and reads an academic text (“I is an illusion”); this side of her personality is no more satisfying. She tries on designer shoes and adorns herself with designer labels (literally). She is lost; who is she? Like sad lyrics to a happy beat, this is quiet, uncomplicated theater, pleasing and sorrowful even beyond the limits of Berczynski’s sharp self awareness.

[PII Gallery, 242 Race Street] September 9-15, 2016; fringearts.com/alice.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.