Saturday, September 19, 2015

Because Why Not? Theatre Company at Elgin Fringe Festival

The exclusive pair bond is a social phenomenon in humans and other species, but is it distinguished above other family arrangements? That's one of the questions posed by "Paradigm," a world premiere performance by Because Why Not? Theatre Company at Elgin Fringe Festival.

Because Why Not? Theatre Company performs "Paradigm"
at the 2015 Elgin Fringe Festival.
A superb script by Director Shannon Geier follows two generations struggling to understand and accept (or reject) each other's internalized definitions of marital commitment. The friction begins in the opening scene as polyamorous Simon (Daniel A. Scurek, Jr.) shows up unwelcome at his son Cal's traditional wedding.

Creatively staged split scenes with separate couples exchanging a counterpoint of incisive dialogue highlighted the ambiguity of terms like love, union, and family. As the piece develops, characters face forward and alternately address the audience and the other characters with provocative points of fact.

The conversation continued after every performance as Geier and the cast engaged the audience in discussion, eliciting a range of questions and observations that echoed and further informed the play's themes.  Is our preference for monogamy instinctive or learned?  How much self-denial is required to partner with someone else?

The finest element of "Paradigm" is its poetic, timely and intelligent script, an important premiere for Elgin Fringe Festival which deserves a bigger stage.

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