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Capital Fringe Review: ‘Sapphire’ by Julia L. Exline

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FOUR STARS
O & B Productions presents the emotional drama Sapphire, Written by God’s Boo and directed by Tyrell T. Lashley. Heady, expressive, and increasingly harrowing, Sapphire takes you into the mind of a traumatized woman—charming but troubled, and as fascinating as she is dangerous.

sixteen (100)

This production has a luxury that most Fringe shows do not—a developed set; containing a door, several chairs and tables, and a painting of a seascape which is framed by curtains, which gives it the illusion of a window with a view. Personal touches like books and framed pictures complete the set, which we discover to be a therapist’s office. It is here where Kitee (Terrie Edwards) has sessions with her Therapist (Leslie Barnett), sharing progressively disturbing stories about her life with each visit. Horrors including abuse, loss, guilt, and blame rocket through the stunned audience, with Edwards giving an exhaustive and passionate performance. Energetic, friendly, and even boisterous one moment, and eerily stony and steely the next, Kitee’s erratic behavior keeps everyone tensed, as if readying themselves to flee from her. This does not go unnoticed by her therapist, who tries to keep the unpredictable Kitee at an arm’s length, but “goes too far” nonetheless. After an explosive and unexpected ending, the actors remain in character and answer audience’s questions, using clever improvisation…but what happens when the audience goes too far?

This show’s real downfall at my performance lies with the technical crew. People blundered about backstage much of the time, making a whole bunch of unnecessary noise that proved very disruptive. Light and sound cues were also confused and proved to be quite a mess. Sapphire’s deeply poignant nature lured you into a story, only to have you repeatedly snapped back into reality by various backstage distractions. Once this issue is resolved, however, the audience can expect a powerful experience at the Fringe with Sapphire.

Sapphire plays through July 28, 2013 at Warehouse – 645 New York Ave NW, in Washington, DC. For performance information and to purchase tickets go to their Capital Fringe page.

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