Aleksandra Berczynski’s short, idiosyncratic shows have become a highlight of my yearly Fringegoing experience. Her 20-minute bursts are quietly detailed, if exaggerated, snapshots into one woman’s life. Last year saw her seek closure on a relationship by destroying a jacket; in 2013 we watched her make potato salad as she prepared for a date.
This year, Berczynski leaves the confines of her home as she is joined “onstage” (the rear space at PII Gallery) by her brilliantly sassy cousin (or perhaps “cousin”), Roza Money. Decked in extremely short skirts, unabashed décolletage, and treacherously high heels, the pair reminisce over shots at “the dirtiest of dirty dive bars” (Travis “Cardamom” Cochran is their put-upon bartender). Watching Berczynski’s earlier pieces, I was unsure how aware she was of their self-involved vacuity. In CUZZO, it’s clear: she’s playfully self-aware, whether seeking psychological therapy from the homeless or riding out drunkenness in a church pew. One can picture Berczynski and Money making short plays at family gatherings since childhood, and CUZZO is reminiscent of a childhood living room piece: it’s raw and amateurish, but also joyously intimate and hard not to like (“who can be mad at us when we look this good”). I’m already looking forward to their next Fringe offering. [PII Gallery, 242 Race Street] September 9-13, 2015; fringearts.com/cuzzo.