Monday, March 2, 2009

Frigid New York: Are We Freaks?

By Le-Anne
slap-stick style humor • four short stories sharing a theme • has an “and the moral is” kind of feel • science fiction-y

BOTTOM LINE: Unusual people experience some not so unusual feelings. The question is proposed, “what is a freak?” both literally and figuratively through side-show freaks and more.

The title of Bricken Sparacino’s new play, presented in this year’s Frigid Festival, asks Are We Freaks? According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Ed., a freak is “a sudden fancy; odd notion; whim, b: an odd or unusual happening.” So based on this definition then, no. No real freak occurrences happen to anybody in Are We Freaks?

Sure, the Wonder-ful Twins (Sparacino and Jennie Inchausti) can’t be separated so they walk around holding each other, fashioning their own “Siamese twin” posture, but they justify their actions by explaining that they don’t like to be without each other. Nothing whimsical there. A bit codependent, but not whimsical. Two friends and coworkers, Caitlin the Cat (Melanie Wehrmacher) and Leslie the Lobster Girl (Kara M. Tyler), are trapped in a trailer after a big storm. Not too unusual. Unpleasant? Yes. Unusual? Not really. Then three sorority sisters have a falling out because two of the girls, Pam (Hannah Wolfe) and Devon (Annalyse McCoy), are bad-mouthing their friend, Abby (Joy Gabriel). Being terribly hurt, Abby lashes out and takes revenge on her mean-spirited sisters. While immature and certainly not the best way to handle the situation, sadly this is not an unusual response at all. Lastly, best friends Annabelle (Sparacino), and Lizz (Uma Incrocci) wish that they could find a man that they liked as well as each other. Annabelle buys a magic mask and wishes for a man who is exactly like Lizz. In “Freaky Friday” fashion, her wish comes true. This is maybe a stretch of the imagination but freakish? No, not according to the above. She asked for something, she got it. Fantastical, sure. Technically speaking though, not odd.

Did I fail to mention that Caitlin the Cat really is part human and part cat, complete with excess fur and long tail, or that Leslie the Lobster Girl has red claws for hands? Did I forget to tell you that Abby harnesses telekinetic powers and is able to curse Pam and Devon so that Pam is grossly disfigured, literally showing her insides on her outsides, and that Devon has no control over saying her inner thoughts out loud? Also, small detail, the Wonder-ful twins never, ever, let go of each other in any -- that’s right -- any, situation. This is perhaps on the abnormal side. Webster’s continues to say a freak is, “any abnormal animal, person, or plant; monstrosity.” All right ladies, I hate to break it to you but yes, technically speaking, you are freaks. No worries, since a freak is also “a devotee or buff,” anyone who reads this is now a freak definition freak.

See Are We Freaks? if you are interested in seeing “freaks” experience some not so freaky emotions. The play shows us that, in life, we are all freaks but that none of us are alone or experiencing abnormal lives. Unless, by chance, you happen to be “a postage stamp with an error that occurred in the printing or perforation process,” because that would be freaky.

(Are We Freaks? performs at The Kraine Theater Wed. March 04 at 10:30pm, Sat. March 07 at 7pm and Sun. March 08 at 2:30pm. It is 45 min. with no intermission. Tickets are $15 and available at Or go to for more.)

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