Fringe Review: Shut Up, Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson (Tanya O'Debra) was a poet, recluse, and the most annoying person ever born. If you decide to spend an hour with her, be prepared to part with a healthy sum of your patience. The preceding isn't my own opinion; it comes verbatim from the opening lines of Shut Up, Emily Dickinson. But who am I to disagree?
Dickinson spends her days locked in her bedroom ruminating on death, writing presumptuous sympathy letters signed “yours in perpetual agony,” and ordering pizzas from Dominoes that she refuses to recieve. Her only companion is The Master (Gregg Bellon), an snarky incorporeal voice that ridicules her and manipulates her into sexual humiliations. Much of the dialogue seems to have been pulled from Dickinson's obnoxiously needy correspondence, and blended liberally with anachronistic references to iPhones and Downton Abbey.
O'Debra, red-nosed and pinch-faced with an absurdly over-pinned hair bun, has a Kristen Wiig-esque flair for twitchy comedy, but the slender plotline of her self-penned script meanders aimlessly like an SLN skit stretched out to an hour. The result reminded me of a production of No Exit with the entire audience cast as Ines. ultimately I had to wonder who this show is for: if you're a big fan of Dickinson's work, you'll likely be offended by the perverse profanity, and if you've no clue who she was, you'll find no reason to care about her here.
Shut UP, Emily Dickinson
Tanya O'Debra (New York, NY)
Rating: M (Adult language, Sexual content)
Run Time: 60 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Theater, multimedia
Mon, May 20 2013, 6:45p.m. – 7:45p.m.
Wed, May 22 2013, 6:15p.m. – 7:15p.m.
Thu, May 23 2013, 9:15p.m. – 10:15p.m.
Sun, May 26 2013, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m.