[19] HOLLY’S DEAD SOLDIERS (Bruce Walsh, Douglas Williams, Chris Davis): Fringe review

Holly's Dead Soldiers 2013 Fringe Festival

Andrew Carroll as the narrator and Kristen Bailey as Holly Golightly.

The play transpires in and around Bruce Walsh’s living room. (September 14 performances will take place at the home of Doug Williams.) Three collaborating playwrights share a sense of community that encompasses the audience, which they view not as a distant collective entity, but as people hanging out. These people are eating quiche and drinking beer for breakfast while the story unfolds all around them—upstairs and downstairs and outside the house. The writers stick fairly close to the spirit of Truman Capote’s story of Holly Golightly: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But the update uses no lines from the book; it transports the tale to Philadelphia; and it’s created to be performed in specific homes.

Strains of Nat King Cole and other artists sometimes accompany the action, as the writers participate in the play along with the two actors. Playwright Doug Williams introduces part one, explaining that he started with a map of Philadelphia. Narrator Andrew Carroll picks it up from there, transitioning into performance as he traces his history with the elusive Holly. As he walks here and there in the living room. he recalls the past and talks specifically to various people who are sitting around. Holly (Kristen Bailey in a beguiling performance) enters through a window (a la Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and has a scene with the vulnerable Narrator. When she leaves the room, playwright Chris Davis takes over. He says he started part two on about page 30 of Capote’s book. More story and events take place, which will not be disclosed here, except to mention that the protagonists, racing across the living room on folding chairs (horseback), pause to deliver an aside and then resume the chase. It’s like that, a feat of laid-back playwriting. Playwright Bruce Walsh picks up part three and pulls out the stops, taking it to another level with inspired handling of an interrogation. Then he ties it up with a touching ending that fittingly blends out into the gathered group. If only a wider audience could experience this. But these writers can’t entertain small groups at home every day, and the work can’t go onto a stage and keep its nature intact. Alas! This stuff is priceless. [Walsh and Williams residences] September 7-14, 2013 fringearts.ticketleap.com/kegs-eggs-a-relay-play/

Fringe Festival, Fringe reviews, Reviews, Theater - Tags: , , , , , , , , , - 2 comments

About the author

Kathryn Osenlund, theater and film junkie, is a former National Critics Institute fellow, NEA fellow in Arts Journalism, and member of the American Theater Critics Assn Steinberg and Osborn playwriting awards committee. A Barrymore Award nominator and professor emeritus in communications and theater, Kathryn also writes for NY-based CurtainUp.com. On twitter @theatrendorphin.