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Rapture, Blister, Burn

a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Gina Gionfriddo

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 4915

SHOWING : June 10, 2016 - June 25, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Can any woman really "have it all?" Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy "Rapture, Blister, Burn" features two women, Cathy and Gwen, who took different paths after college and are asking the same question. While Cathy built a career as a "rockstar academic," Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, when Cathy returns home, Cathy and Gwen realize the depth of their unfulfillments and so begin a risky game of musical chairs as each tries to claim the other’s territory.

In a world where Cheryl Sandberg is exhorting women to "Lean In" to their careers, Beyonce and J-Lo have declared themselves feminists, and we have a female presidential candidate, "Rapture, Blister, Burn" injects us into the middle of the discussion. Exploring the naivety, imperfections, and disillusionment that many men and women face, "Rapture, Blister, Burn" is not a blind endorsement of any ideal, but sparks realistic conversation about modern relationships and society. The relatable characters and situations presented make Gionfriddo’s comedy an excellent choice for an evening or afternoon of entertainment, laughter, and lively discussion.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Kristin R. Kalbli
Stage Manager Meghan B Zern
Alice Dianne Butler
Cathy Laura Cole
Gwen Jill Hames
Don Zip Rampy
Avery Bryn Striepe
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REVIEWS

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Feminism 101
by playgoer
Sunday, June 26, 2016
3.5
Gina Gionfriddo’s "Rapture, Blister, Burn" concerns a New York professor returning to her college town roots, ostensibly in order to take care of her ailing mother and teach feminism classes. Instead, she hooks up with a former flame and throws both of their lives into turmoil. We start with feminism seminar discussions, move over to life-swapping, and end with an acceptance of the previous status quo.

Director Kristin Kalbli has assembled an excellent cast. Laura Cole makes for a dynamic feminist professor, and Jill Hames Graham provides an intellectual counterweight as a superficially contented housewife. Bryn Striepe adds a millennial viewpoint, while Dianne Butler, playing the professor’s mother, adds an older viewpoint. It all makes for a multi-sided discussion of feminism and its history. Zip Rampy is given the impossible role of being a lazy pot-head drunkard who is desired at different times by both his wife and the professor, but his performance is as professional as the others.

Technical aspects of the show are whole-heartedly amateurish. Morgan Brooks’ set design lacks style, aiming instead for the functional. Hinged wall units at either side of the stage are used for outside scenes, while the full stage is used for interior scenes, with the hinged units folded back against the wall. The numerous set changes, multiplied by relatively short scenes, add to the length of an already-too-long show. Will Brooks’ lighting design I found terribly distracting, with actors moving through zones of light and shadow when following Ms. Kalbli’s fairly active blocking.

The script careens from academic discussion to unconventional sexual situations and back again. Its focus on giving equal weight to all sides of the issue of feminism creates a flaccid flip-flop of a plot. The actors do a bang-up job of bringing their characters to life, but the life Ms. Gionfriddo has defined for them seems more schematic than realistic. The acting and directing make the show; technical aspects and the script itself are a letdown. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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