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  •  REVIEW: PSALMS OF A QUESTIONABLE NATURE

      Carrie Heitman and Emily Kunkel in Psalms of a Questionable Nature. in Psalms of a Questionable Nature
      Carrie Heitman and Emily Kunkel in "Psalms of a Questionable Nature."
    What's in your basement?

    "Psalms of a Questionable Nature" follows two young women into their dead parents' basement, the hiding place of one of the best plays in the Fringe Festival.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    The first thing that is not revealed in "Psalms of a Questionable Nature" is the actual stage. The play starts — in fact, the "turn off your cell phone" announcement even takes place — in a dark stairwell. Two young women illuminated only by each other's flashlights are arguing over who is going to own the house.

    PSALMS OF A QUESTIONABLE NATURE
    Company: Interlink Theatre.
    Written by: Marisa Wegryzn.
    Directed by: Tracy C. Francis.
    Cast: Emily Kunkel, Carrie Heitman.
    Sound design by: TJ Pallas.
    Set design by: Jonathan Cottle.
    Lighting design by: Jonathan Cottle.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street The Lafayette Street Theatre
    45 Bleecker Street (at Lafayette)
    Fringe Festival 2008, Aug. 8-24, 2008

     RELATED ARTICLES
    Fringe Festival 2008
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  •   
    "Your mom married my dad — that makes us sisters!" says Moo.

    "STEP-sisters," emphasizes Greta. Appropriately enough, since they haven't gotten past the steps yet.

    Greta is in perhaps her 30s, having already had a husband and child and never looked back at her cracked family in this house. Moo (Moo?) might be 15, and a stunted 15 at that, having spent 10 of those years in this house with a mad-scientist tinkerer for a dad and an ill-tempered moralist for a stepmother. Her head works in wrong ways, and she kind of knows it. These two have never been sisters, or even met, before this day.

    The two have been brought together by their parents' sudden death, attributed to drunk driving late at night on a mountain road. That's the story. "People need reasons for why things go wrong," Greta says, quoting her deceased mother. Now, Greta needs cash from selling the house, and Moo needs to be forgotten about so she can continue to live in the house without anyone noticing, or she needs to be taken in by a family member — of which she has, at most, this one.

      
      Emily Kunkel is a force of nature. She's both scary and hilarious. Scalarious.
      
    On go the lights and into the basement go these two, deeper into the past and the future. "Don't go there," you might want to say at several times during the play, but of course they do.

    The secrets of the basement are, well, somewhat improbable, but we go along with them as they are revealed in all their farfetchedness. We have our reasons — and our reasons have names, and their names are Carrie Heitman and Emily Kunkel.

    Carrie Heitman in Psalms of a Questionable Nature. in Psalms of a Questionable Nature  
    Carrie Heitman in "Psalms of a Questionable Nature."
      
    Heitman, as Greta, is curt, defensive and stoic — becoming aware only incrementally of the strange depths that her estranged family has sunk to over the years of her absence, she dutifully tries to clean up after the disasters as fast as she can learn of them. And still, despite her protectiveness, she is never protected well enough for the onslaught of Hurricane Moo.

    Emily Kunkel, as Moo, is a force of nature. Her character is, by turns, naive and knowing, childlike and out-and-out dangerous, and Kunkel is all these things from one minute to the next. She's both scary and hilarious. Scalarious. This strange little family-secrets drama plus campfire horror story is (based on my own small sample) the buried treasure of this year's Fringe Festival, and Kunkel is my favorite actress in the festival.

    AUGUST 26, 2008
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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