Anne Frank Superstar & The Purpose of the Moon, Penguin Point Productions, Winter Park. Pink venue, 60 minutes, $10.
By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater
Some Fringe veterans are considerably louder about their achievements. But Penguin Point Productions — the alumni chapter of the theater students from Lake Howell High School — proves to have perhaps the most out-there production of the 2011 Fringe with Anne Frank Superstar & The Purpose of the Moon, a compilation of two short plays that will certainly move you and will almost as certainly blow your mind.
In the first of the two playlets, both of them adaptations by James Brendlinger, Vincent Van Gogh repeatedly slices off his ear and sends it through the mail to Marilyn Monroe, each time reaching a different conclusion. In the second, Anne Frank lives her life in the secret annex to the accompaniment of Karen Carpenter’s songs.
The first idea, taken from a story by Tom Robbins, is not such a shocking notion, even though it’s way past farfetched. But the second — the idea of telling a sacred story through songs that have often been called kitsch — will certainly offend somebody, and the concept is so startling that it actually works.
Penguin Point’s young company members could teach some of their elders how smoothly a Fringe production should move, and a number of the actors are very good: Brendan Crowgey (Vincent), Nichole Auger (Marilyn) and especially Ally Gursky as an insistent Dr. Robbins in the first piece, and a vibrant Sarah Villegas (Anne), Anthony Pyatt Jr. (Peter), Christopher Brown (Mr. Frank) and Tori Camera (Margot) in the second.
But what’s startling about the Anne Frank show is how those Carpenters songs make you look at Anne anew, make you see her as the most normal of girls in a wildly abnormal setting. Brendlinger’s ideas about Monroe, Carpenter and Anne Frank all suffering the same kind of fate — one that can be generalized to all women — may be a stretch. But it’s a thrill to see a Fringe production that tears at your heart and stretches your mind at the same time.
Monday May 23, 11:05 p.m.
Wednesday May 25, 7:50 p.m.
Saturday May 28, 6:40 p.m.