San Francisco Fringe 2017
“Not Until They’re Dead is a dark musical’ish comedy where truth-telling, clown, and dance come together to reveal the sometimes nightmare journey of being raised by human beings. We seek to bring the audience with us on a journey – prancing and stumbling along the fragile line between the public and the private.”
Two energetic and talented performers, Alice Moore and Micael Bogar who also co-created the show, directed by Em Lee Reaves, reminisce on growing up and becoming adults. While this may sound cozy and sweet, they take another route and tell us about the expectations and quirks of two different families.
Using video clips, photos, live action, dance, song, clowning, sound effects and a few props they each enact and narrate moments of their life that made an impression on them or provided turning points. Each of the several solo and duo scenes starts with a title on a large screen followed by the actors bursting into song, dance or narrating the foibles of specific family characters with a wide range of personalities and happenings.
The stories and scenes also range widely in subject and cover the typical family issues, plus a few on the extreme end of the scale. While the topics in some parts are serious they are all offered with sincerity and humor, which keeps the fifty-minute dark comedy show moving at a good pace. Each scene or story is separate but unified by the common thread of each performer’s experiences starting when they were young, to the recent past. Many of the topics are relatable – dysfunctional families, relationships, hopes and dreams, a few are quite surprising and all are interesting due to the crafting and performances.
Moore and Bogar interact in between and sometimes during scenes, it’s funny and shows how well they work together. They overflow with ideas and keep each other in check and on track with their brief interactions. This is an entertaining social commentary show not only about their lives but also about ours. Even if we haven’t had the same experiences and types in our lives we can think of parallels or those of friends. Moore and Bogar even commiserate together – and it’s fun!
They both sing well and Moore does a medley of show tunes that will knock your socks off! Among the many scenes, there’s one behind a sofa with both performers holding flashlights, one where Bogar tells a chilling story about a babysitter, and another when Moore tells a poignant story about a package that arrives in the mail. Moore and Bogar act, sing and dance their hearts out, they fill the stage with their hopes, dreams and expectations!