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  •  REVIEW: SIC

      Sic
    Prince die

    One of the Fringe Festival's best, "Sic" is a one-man tour de force from South Africa about an actor whose specialty is death scenes — until his real-life death draws critical pans.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    Sic McGraw, self-proclaimed "greatest die-er that ever lived," is doing what he's famous for. And in the perfect setting, too: the duel scene of "Hamlet" in which he plays all the parts, which means he gets to die, what, 50 or 60 times? Okay, maybe only four times, but each is more drawn-out and dramatic than the one before, full of gasping and gurgling and impassioned speeches.

    Sic is celebrated throughout throughout the land (which sounds like Australia but it's never specified) for dying on stage, but when he suddenly learns he's dying for real, it's a different story. He has a growth in his gut with a multi-Greek-word name and it's blowing up like a balloon and it's inoperable. He can have a long, painful series of "histolextoscopies," but even that might not help.

    SIC
    Written and performed by: Nick Boraine.
     RELATED ARTICLES
    Fringe Festival 2001

    • Overview
    • Show listings

    Theater
    • 21 Dog Years
    • Debbie Does Dallas
    • Doing Justice
    • Einstein's Dreams
    • The Elephant Man: The Musical
    • Equal Protection
    • Fifty Minutes
    • Fuck You or Dead Pee Holes
    • Gene de Tueur
    • L'Hiver Sous la Table
    • Imperative Flight
    • Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries
    • Loader #26
    • A Piece of My Heart
    • Sic
    • Snapshot
    • Take
    • Two Girls from Vermont
    • Woosh
    • Zoo

    Dance
    • Absolutely Abreast
    • Break the Floor
    • I Dance

    Art
    • Studio

    Other Fringe Festivals
    • Fringe 2000
      
    That's the setup of "Sic," a smashing one-man show by South African actor Nick Boraine. It's only partly a play about death — it's also an exploration of an actor's inner and outer worlds.

    The outer world consists not only of his public performances, in which he struggles to maintain his character while collapsing with more and more real agony to the floor, but also his celebrity persona, the sense in which his private suffering must be shared with the viewers at home. "The real question, of course, is: Does he die as well in real life as he does on stage?" a prying TV reporter says into the camera. "And if he doesn't, there are going to be a lot of angry people out there."

    As Sic's disease advances, the tone shifts from Elizabethan dignity to modern surrealism. Sic dramatizes his balloon-like growth with an actual balloon, which gradually inflates from scene to scene and becomes almost another character in the show. (There's a priceless scene in which it takes the place of a well-known character from "Hamlet.") And his desperate self-medication with booze, drugs and quack cures is accompanied by hallucinations that gradually displace his real life.

    "Sic" is a play with both big-picture intelligence and small-detail cleverness. Among the artful touches, let's note that "Hamlet," famous for its play-within-a-play, is the play within the play "Sic." That lets Boraine turn Shakespeare's most tragic scenes into comedy just by performing them more or less straight, without any blatant mugging.

    Boraine has a charismatic presence on stage (rugged, handsome and blond, he probably would make a fine Hamlet, at that), and his performance here is skillful and energetic. "Sic" is a show that works on all levels, and it's undoubtedly one of the best few plays at the Fringe Festival.

    AUGUST 19, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Sic:

  • Sic is wonderful!   from Lisa Gardner, Aug 22, 2001
  • Go see "Sic"   from Liz, Aug 22, 2001
  • Re: Go see "Sic"   from Sammy, Aug 27, 2001
  • Inspirational   from Jaqui Hiltermann, May 20, 2002

  • Post a comment on "Sic"