Friday, July 5, 2019

Fertile (review)

Spoilers ahoy!

I can honestly say Fertile was one show in the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival that seemed like a no brainer.  Most such must be rolls of the dice, but of course if you know a given performer and their work you walk in with expectations.  In this case, my imagination conjured the idea of a realistic and fairly autobiographical one woman show about her attempts to become pregnant. 

My expectations were not met.  I was anything but disappointed.  In fact, I was thrilled.  

Actor/playwright Heather Dowling plays Jenny, a young woman very much like Dowling but with a different set of life details.  She wants to have a child, but there seem to be...problems.  And so begins a journey amid circumstances, friends, medical experts, advocates, and eventually God (no, not at the end, fairly close to the beginning).  She confronts all kinds of issues and opinions.  She even deals with expectations.

A little ironic that.

Jenny's is not a story of saving the world, or finding meaning in life--at least not what most think of when that term comes up.  It isn't about dealing with heart-shredding tragedy or healing from a devastating series of tragedies.  But in its intimate way and focus, it touches on the decisions, hopes, terrors, and realizations about ourselves with which we can all identify.  Quiet joys and disappointments make up most of our lives, and navigating them remains the focus of this lovely and intimate tale.  We care about Jenny and her friends.  We grow to know her (and her husband) better and better, so in this honest and startling (as well as funny) odyssey we increasingly understand.  We hopefully gain a little of the wisdom they do.  Drop by drop.  Each one precious. Each one to be savored.

Like this play.

Fertile has gotten a Fringe extension so you can still catch it Thursday June 11 and Sunday June 13, 2019 at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd (one block east of Vine), Los Angeles, CA 90038

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