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Ballad of the Pale Fisherman

24 Feb

“I have more of a response,” the woman in the black hat starts at the talkback for Ballad of the Pale Fisherman at the Illusion Theater on Thursday night. “I,” she hesitates and from behind, her shoulders start to shudder and she tries to catch her breath and voice, “I am from New England, and I sometimes say that I live in the land of ten thousand lakes and not an ounce of ocean. So I am giving you back some salt water.” She carries on as the cast and director Isabel Nelson stare at her, welling up themselves, and she tells us all about how much she misses the sea, how real that pull is for her. “The longing is there and that’s what makes it universal,” she goes on to say, thanking the cast profusely.

So there, a review by way of a story. Don’t let a play with no sets, no props and just seven actors on stage fool you, Ballad of the Pale Fisherman is a play full of richness, with precise, emotive story-telling and a trust and challenge that makes the audience a critical role in the performance.Dark Dark Dark may have put it to us in “Colors“, with Marshall LaCount answering his own question – “Which town do you like the best? Its too bad there’s no ocean in Minneapolis.” It’s true, but the aptly named Transatlantic Love Affair have brought longing and the sea onto stage in the landlocked Middle West. Whether it’s in Diogo Lopes’ wide-eyed stare or in Anna Reichert’s other-worldly howl, the tension of our desires and needs in conflict shimmers and tears just under the physical performance and humor of the world onstage. It’s a delicate world we live in and the sea will have her way.

If you miss out, and the show only runs Friday and Saturday before closing, watch out for them at this summer’s Fringe Festival. It’s where they premiered Ballad two years ago and cleaned up in 2011 with Red Resurrected, so whatever they play around with next, it’s sure to move.

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