THE BIRTH OF CAFi SOCIETY
nytheatre.com review by Stephen Graybill
At FringeNYC this year there are a
variety of different shows. Personally, as a reviewer, I have had the
full fringe experience: from the brilliant to the…not-so-brilliant, one
might say. I have come to realize that the true heart of theater lives
within this international festival. Groups travel from across the globe
for this single chance to pour their heart and energy into one show that
expresses their artistic creativity.
August 15, 2002
From Australia, Alejandra Canales has come to perform Iqbal Barkat’s show, The Birth of Cafi Society. Only at FringeNYC can you see a show such as this. Though I cannot speak for the other people who were in the audience with me, I am sure that this team has a heartfelt message to send to us about the topic of their play. However, what that message is might have been left at home. All I knew about the play when I walked in was all I knew about the play when I walked out: coffee is involved somehow.
This one-woman show is performed with little to nothing to aid Canales. There is a suitcase at stage right, some other clothing at stage left, and a video screen behind her that shows videos of distracting images that help in no way but to entertain. Thankfully, Canales uses a different article of clothing for each character she presented. If she had not used the clothing I would not have registered a change in character, since her transformations are more or less non-existent.
I would have been able to follow the script had the words been put together in a way that lent themselves to linear thought. It seemed more like an attempt at deep, dramatic, insightful thinking rather than the telling of a story.
All in all, the show did not have a through line, a plot, a story, an arc, a sense of linear connection, or an actress able to play different characters.