By Bob Evans
Kansas City says “Hello,” to Lauren Moore in the lead role of Undine in the UMKC student based production of Lynn Nottage’s “Fabulation” that opened April 8 in the Performing Arts building.
Amanda Davison directed the comedy about the social climbing Undine who discovers that once at the top of her game, staying there is more than she bargained for. Also, one misplaced loyalty sent her pummeling backward to her humble roots. “Fabulation” gives a fantasy look at how fast material objects, wealth, and ambition disappear and cannot be sustained.
While the play is a comedy, broad holes leave unanswered questions that never quite find answers, explanation, or resolution. Still, just looking at the surface, the show moves quickly along and the set and staging stand out, along with Lauren Moore’s performance. She’s the focus of every scene in both acts. Her stage presence is strong and the character she develops, Undine, slowly changes as the show progresses.
Opening night introduced the cast to a live audience and the cast needed the audience to find the laughs and find their pacing. The opening scene could benefit by adding maybe 2 minutes to Undine’s opening monologue. The speech is so fast that it’s hard for the audience to take it all in and just a bit slower would allow the actors time to react to dialogue and changes of temperament and mood. But, that was nerves of opening night. Still, call the play a success.
The student production benefited from the acting of the cast and the technical skills of the crew with a beautifully conceived set, decoration, set changes, lighting, sound design, costumes, and well-suited use of all performance space in the tiny performance space.
Moore led a strong cast that included John Conklin as Herve/Guy/Lance, Jaanvi Kumar as Stephie/Rosa/Applicant/Doctor, Terraye Watson as Flow/Rapper/Addict/Mover, Pearl Fuller as Dr. Khdair/Grandma/Inmate 2/Case Worker, Sierra Berry as Allison/Mother/Davora/Inmate 1/Addict/Applicant, Brandon Gibson as Yoruba Priest/Father/Gregory/Applicant, Elisa Bragaw as Counselor/ Pregnant Woman/Applicant, Peter Morgan as Agent Duval/Mover/Drug Dealer. The play gave them all opportunities to wear different characters and create different sounds, body language, accents, and work on character development in small parts.
Some of the supporting characters that stand our are Conklin as Lance, Watson as Rapper, and Gibson as Gregory. They did nice work in taking a small part and giving it a chance to stand out in a piece centered upon one main lead character.
The production staff and crew who deservedly earn praise for their work on “Fabulation” are: Amanda Davison, director; Sadie DeSantis, production manager; Colleen Shea, scenic and protections designer; Paige Bellowski, costume design; Joshua Austin, lighting design; Noah Bartlet, sound design; Nils Emerson, technical director; Elizabeth Sampley, stage manager; Ellen Hayek, dramaturg; Robert Ortiz, assistant technical director; Rafael Torbio, properties master; Maddie Rowe, sound engineer; Katie Wasicko and Destiny Lovell, assistant stage managers; Rosalee O’Gara, production assistant; Micah Thompson, assistant projections design; Shannon Barondeau, master electrician; Glenn Linder, programmer; Christian Taylor, scenic artist; Claire Mc Ewen, crew; Frederick Rivera light board operator; Maddie Rowe, sound board operator; Paula Fritz, house manager; Joshua Austin and Micah Thompson, ushers.
“Fabulation” runs through April 16 in the Olson Performing Arts Center. The play is a production of UMKC Theatre. For tickets, go to their UMKC Theatre website.
Tags: UMKC, UMKC Theatre, “Fabulation”, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment