The Drifts – A must see at NYC Fringe

Novelist, playwright, actor Thom Vernon

Novelist, playwright, actor Thom Vernon

Earlier this evening, I watched a run-through of The Drifts, a one-man play that will take the stage at this year’s New York Fringe Festival (Aug 9 – 25). I won’t go into the details of the plot other than to say it is excerpted from the book of the same name by Thom Vernon.

As I have written elsewhere, I do not generally like one-person plays. I find them to be self-involved and often so self-referential that they provide no context for me as a viewer. The Drifts, however, does not feel like a one-person play but rather a fully cast exhibition of characters that all happen to be performed by the same actor, again Thom Vernon.

In a good way, Vernon channels his inner Sibyl to schizophrenically present a cast of at least 8 or 9 characters, including a baby cow (seriously), and he does this with such clarity that you’ll only rarely find yourself confused as to who is speaking.

With a single motion, nervous tick, posture, sound or look, Vernon assures that you will immediately know if you are looking at desperate husband Charlie or exhausted wife Julie.

The story itself comes at you like an emotional jackhammer as each of the characters struggles to find or stand up for his or her individuality. And it is this sameness of their pursuits that provides the delicious irony of the piece, proving that what truly draws us to each other is our common need to be unique.

By the end of the hour, you will find yourself as exhausted as the playwright and actor, but it will be a welcome and refreshing exhaustion that will leave you changed—and no doubt heading to the nearest bookstore to find the book.

If you are fortunate enough to be in New York during the Fringe Festival, compound that fortune by taking in The Drifts.

Free fall update

Free fall

With a pretty steady acceleration of about 9.8 m/s2 and a consistent headwind coming from below, I am happy to report that my free fall through the universe remains largely unchanged from my last check-in.

The ground remains nowhere in sight although recent episodes of blue-shifting suggest it is down there somewhere. Otherwise, the view continues to be spectacular, if a tad blurry.

The best movie metaphor I can offer for my journey thus far is a mashup between Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is as though I combined Indiana’s leap from the lion’s head over the yawning chasm with Dave’s journey into the monolith to find it full of stars. (My journey’s been full of actors, some of whom will one day be stars.)

When I stepped off the cliff in May 2012, I could not see the bottom. That there was even a bottom to be seen was pure conjecture. In some respects, that may have made it easier to step off. Ironically, not seeing what awaited me was less frightening.

As I fall—which I don’t see as a negative expression—I have come to realize that I care less and less about my potential destination. Instead, I am enjoying the freedom of soaring in whatever direction takes my fancy (falling is just soaring on a downward bias).

And in my journey, I am meeting an endless array of interesting people. Some are also soaring, while others are flailing in resistance. And still others have convinced themselves they are stable and stationary. Whatever floats their sense of well-being.

The forecast for tomorrow is a continued breeze with periodic pockets of turbulence in a sea of exhilaration. Can’t wait.