FIERCELY INDEPENDENT: Show Review by Jamie Levine


As a recently engaged single mom, I have no personal experience with a broken marriage that both parties are completely uncertain about how to repair. But I do know how distracting cell phones, computers, and the overwhelming presence of modern technology can be when it comes to trying to communicate with loved ones. So I found the premise of “Fiercely Independent,” a new original play by 3-time Tony Award Winner Kathleen Johnson (who also directed), engaging, and thoroughly enjoyed this dramatic Off-Broadway play.

In it, a 30-something couple, Julie (played by Caitlin Gallogly, best known as Princess Kenny on Comedy Central’s “South Park” and as Kim on “Silicon Valley” (HBO)) and Robert (played by Christopher M. Smith, who has select TV and theater credits, and is making his Off-Broadway debut here) find their 4-year marriage in crisis, and decide to spend 24 hours together in a hotel room with no television, cell phones, or Internet/computers, to see if they can resolve their issues. They also come to this rendezvous with a list of ground rules that both of them must follow (e.g., no drinking alcohol, must always be honest, etc.). The conversations, interactions, and revelations that transpire between the couple are at turns heartwarming, disheartening, and heartbreaking.

My fiance, who accompanied me to this production, and I agreed that both actors were brutally honest and convincing in their roles, and that both the premise and execution of this play were extremely well done. From bickering about the expectations and demands of the husband’s career to bonding over their favorite Chinese food when hunger and exhaustion finally set in, this couple displayed a range of realistic emotions and explored a variety of topics relatable for most couples. However, as an optimistic new bride-to-be, I can only hope that my happily-ever-after will be less fleeting than this couple’s, and that the only time I’ll spend in a hotel room cut off from technology with my future husband will be on a tropical island paradise.

 

FIERCELY INDEPENDENT has set and lighting design by Will Cotton; and costume design by Rodney Harper. Original music and lyrics are written by Andrew David Sotomayor. Recorded and produced by Erik Gloege. Song performed by George Bugatti.  The show runs 90 minutes, no intermission.

Closing: APRIL 7th

Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, New York, NY 10013

The playing schedule is Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm, with matinees Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 3pm. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.fiercelysoho.com or call 212-691-1555.

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