Other Side Productions, The Bridge Theatre, New York City, 2012
In THE ARTIFACTS, two great divas of modern drama, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s Miss Julie, form an uneasy relationship in search of sisterly companionship. Their target is a dedicated young graduate student of theatre in a modern American liberal arts college. THE ARTIFACTS brings together two opposing forces: the mystery and purity of Art and the analytical thesis-driven engine of Academia. THE ARTIFACTS celebrates the enduring power, beauty, tragedy, and danger of great dramatic art, which Hedda and Julie represent. It is a darkly comic satire of the foolish academic mentors who prey upon vulnerable young students.
reviewed by Martin Denton · April 18, 2012
If you just happened to meet Laura Wingfield one day, would she know that her glass menagerie was a symbol of her own fragility and uniqueness?
This is one of the potent ideas in Steven Fechter’s engaging and entertaining new play The Artifacts, which is debuting this month courtesy of Other Side Productions and Thom Fogarty, who also directs. It’s a play with a neat premise: a young theatre graduate student, Beth, is taking her comprehensive exams, and during the test she is visited by Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s Miss Julie. Of course, it’s one thing for a playwright to get a cool idea and quite another to actually develop something interesting and rewarding from such an idea. Happily, Fechter delivers. The play is great fun to watch and also loaded with intriguing notions that will keep audience members reflecting and discussing for hours after the curtain comes down.
The place where Fechter ultimately takes Beth and us in the play surprised me. I appreciated how much I had to react to and think about when The Artifacts was through.