Our heroine is covered in red sauce, sitting thigh-deep in a kiddie pool of pasta. She is glamorous. She is funny. She is full of anxiety. Wielding pasta props and forced to confront a speaker projecting the voices of her inner demons, Eibhleann Clyne delivers a rip-roaring 15 minutes for her Free Fringe show, In Pasta.
Premiering September 9 at Tattooed Mom—part of this year’s inaugural alternative to that original alternative, the Fringe Festival—Clyne’s In Pasta challenges the standard conventions of theater and the theater-industrial complex itself.
For a one-woman show about existential anxiety and imposter syndrome, the beats are about as we expect. But it is that expectation, that knowing of what is coming which allows us to fully appreciate everything that is novel about Clyne’s performance. Namely, the pasta, the penultimate saucing, the characterization of said self-doubt actualized through the inventive staging, dramatic execution, and carbo-loaded characters.
As much as Clyne plays the clown of unreal drama, one cannot help but feel a twang of pain in her sadness or uplift in her joy. She is the everywoman placed in a situation as a surreal as it is relatable, and it is that which captures the zeitgeist of our times.
Where arts pop
The idea of placing drama and performance in unconventional spaces is one which has always interested me, but to see it come to fruition this way is a joy. The casual atmosphere is one of tipsy joy, the anticipation quickly met and realized, before dissolving away into the night. It’s a microcosm of what makes artistic events pop.
Even something as simple as putting the stage in front of the bathrooms interjects bar patrons’ comings and goings into the proceedings. It’s this quotidian, almost laissez-faire attitude to drama which defamiliarizes even as strange a place as Tattooed Mom, while as the piece itself serves to deeply humanize our heroine.
In Pasta will return on September 15 and 16 at 6pm at Fergie’s Pub.
What, When, Where
In Pasta. By Eibhleann Clyne. Through September 16 at Tattooed Mom (530 South Street, Philadelphia) and Fergie’s Pub (1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia). freefringephilly.com.
The performance spaces at Tattooed Mom and Fergie’s are located upstairs and are not wheelchair accessible.