FringeNYC 2013: Our Kiki

"A Kiki: A party including good music and good friends, held for the express purpose of calming nerves, reducing anxiety and stress and generally fighting ennui. May involve locked doors, tea and salacious gossip..." 

I stood outside the Connelly Theater for about a half an hour, excitedly anticipating the Kiki.

 

When picking Fringe shows to see, two things had stuck out to me about this piece. First: their postcard imagery reminded me of the 1950’s sitcom “I Love Lucy”, and therefore I already foresaw laughter and wittiness. Second: the website referenced the television show “Will and Grace”, a closet addiction of mine.

I knew I would have to be in attendance. On the sidewalk, I could hear the pulsating ED music blasting from inside. I had read farces before, such as Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale, in English class. Okay, farce… farce? I remember gross jokes, sexual humor, and unrealistic situations. Alright, I know what I’m prepared for.

Not quite. It’s one thing to read a farce on paper, but another to watch it play out onstage. I often appreciate a show for being believable or natural; however, by the title of this show, I figured it would not be heavy on either. The first time the actors simultaneously ran out of the room, stopped, and toppled over one another like the “three Stooges”, I seriously didn’t know how to respond. It was executed perfectly, of course, as was every time the actors ran into the same damn coffee table, or even had a make-out session of mistaken identities. But it had simply forced me to see the show for what it was: a farce that was comfortable and allowed to delve into the illogical and silly. And after maybe the first sets of unrealistic situations, I was giggling along with the rest of the audience without hesitation. Yet again, my notions of what is “acceptable and right” in theatre had been kyboshed.

Despite the over the top nature of the comedy, Our Kiki presents a very touching love story. Essentially, Molly has married her gay best friend’s boyfriend so that he can avoid deportation to Finland. Molly’s sacrifice is one made of true compassion for her friend, and I appreciated how wholeheartedly the character spoke of her devotion to this agreement. Her dialogue didn't reflect that she felt stuck, or like a martyr. The show even felt reminiscent of the television show “Friends” when Molly, her “husband”, her true boyfriend, and her best friend all chatted on the couch and sprawled across one-another. The characters even utilized Finnish and Spanish as ways to secretly communicate, which finds the show incorporating some cool multi-media elements as the translations pop up on the wall.

Ultimately, I really felt that Our Kiki served a higher purpose. Through the madness and sweet relationships onstage, I was reminded of how inequality, the fact that same-sex immigrant spouses are unable to apply for visas and face deportation, can manifest in peoples’ lives and threaten love. It also reminded me of how much of a television enthusiast I am.. oh well.

SEE OUR KIKI

$15 #tickets SUN 8/18 @ NOON SUN 8/25 @ 1:45pm