2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘On the Eve’

By Isabel Echavarria

Dive into the world of legendary characters of fairy tales, literature, and history at On the Eve by Amy Frey. This show explores the confusion and desperation that iconic individuals face before rising to fame, highlighting their humanity despite society’s mythical regard for them. This production left me analyzing beloved stories and characters from a more critical perspective.

The show is comprised of three vignettes each depicting the events leading up to the climax of Rumpelstiltskin and Romeo and Juliet, as well as Joan of Arc’s imprisonment. Each vignette focuses on the interactions of two characters, played by actors Thomas Anawalt and Amy Frey. While the motives of each character vary by vignette, a sense of dependency exists between the pair throughout the entire performance. Tension accumulates as each scene progresses and dissolves right as the characters agree on a resolution to their conflict, which ultimately brings them to glory.

My favorite vignette was the second, where Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time after Romeo has killed Juliet’s cousin Tybalt. The dysfunction and fragility of the couple’s relationship because of their age and family heritage is visible in this scene. The two characters struggle to decide how to move forward in their relationship after this event, expressing hesitancy toward trusting the other. The characters ultimately decide to remain together, leading them to the tragic death that defines their iconic romance.

Director Melissa Frey chooses to transition the vignettes by having the actors act out the consequences of their decision through stylized movement. The actors also change their costumes during the transition to take on a new character for the next scene. The sequences are accompanied by dramatic choral music. This music sounds celebratory and grand but contrasts with the human vulnerability that was visible in the previous scene.

On the Eve emphasizes the realism and complexity found within every decision and human interaction. The play removed the barrier between normal people and legendary characters and individuals. This play was thought-provoking for me and is one I recommend.

Running Time: 55 minutes, with no intermission.

On the Eve plays through July 22, 2018, at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church – 555 Water Street, SW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call 866.811.4111, or purchase them online.

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