Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Letter from Poland

SHOW TITLE: Letter From Poland
VENUE: Collective: Cabaret
GENRE: Comedy (w/ a bit of drama)
RATING (0-4): 3

0 Run, don't walk, away from this disaster
1 Proceed with caution
2 Mild summer fare
3 More than just hype
4 Don't miss this one its FRINGE-tastic!


I went into Letter From Poland expecting sad tales of Nazi war camps,only because that's what the title implies, but I was pleasantlysurprised by the actual show. It delved a bit into the world of theatreand it told a true life story. It is very hard for an actor to playthemselves in a real situation that they experienced along the courseof their lives. But that is what writer/performer Michael Doyle does.He tells the story of his time in Poland, on grant to study differentforms of theatre; however, he never actually gets to begin his studiesbecause soon after arriving in Poland he is snowed into his hostelwith a broken ankle. He begins to become restless fearing that he willloose his grant money and starts to develop cabin fever due to his lackof contact with other people. His saving grace is a group of nuns whoarrive at the hostel and ask him to direct a play for them. Doyle helpsthem in hopes that this play will get him back his grant money. Theyperform the play "The Good Samaritan," appropriately titled due to thecircumstances, and one of the nuns leaves a letter for Doyle to send tothe people who issued his grant telling them to reinstate his grantmoney. Through the letter we learn that the play will be performed inAfrica as part of the nuns’ missionary work to stop the spread of AIDS.This play teaches us that you never know how much a small act ofkindness can really mean to people. It is almost in the same tune asthe movie "Pay it Forward". Further, Doyle does a great job atportraying himself, which is again far more difficult than most peopleimagine. This show is uplifting and fun. It stands out form a lot ofthe shows for this reason. I really liked this show and a recommend itas a break from all the tragedy plaguing the Festival and the world.


I see this show having a run on Off-Off Broadway. Out of the one manshows I have seen thus far this one far surpasses the others. I hope tosee it picked up, it has a good message and that is something we allneed right now.


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