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Hollywood Fringe 2014 experience Day Six (part one)

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My next to last day at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival took me to four plays from some of my closest Fringeships, all of which took place at Theatre Asylum.

First up was the latest endeavor from the amazing Ben Moroski - The Wake. Last year, Moroski brought us the award winning show, This Vicious Minute, which was an autobiographical show about his struggles with self-injury, aka "cutting." That show was visceral and real, and although it was a tough show to see due to its subject matter, it was one of those shows that needed to be experienced to more fully understand what makes a person cut themself.

This year's offering is no less dark, although it is more of a dark comedy than a dark truth. If you visualize the video for Tom Petty's Last Dance with Mary Jane, you'll get a glimpse of the subject matter.

Moroski is a force to behold. His character, Pete Harrisburg, is trying to get over a very bad break-up. Pete was so much in love that he almost stopped living when his girlfriend left him. Pete finds solace through theater and tries to work out his problems through a play.

The show opens with Pete trying to perform his play, but being unable to get through it because of the cloud of emotions rolling through his mind. He gives up and decides to go to a club to unwind and forget. What happens next is the meat and potatoes of this show.

Moroski is brilliant as Pete, and infuses life into his heartbroken character. Despite the dark material, Pete is revealed as an everyday man dealing with more pain than he can bear. He wants to be loved, and finds love in the darkest possible way.

Don't let the name fool you. This show is not about a funeral or a wake in the traditional sense. Rather it is a journey to recovery for a man so overcome with his loss that he needs an outlet to fully express it.

You will be mesmerized and strangely refreshed by this play, which has garnered critical acclaim from just about everywhere. Moroski has once again delivered as only he can. In this case, it is okay to believe the hype, because it is true. You don't want to miss this show.

Remaining performances are June 23 at 10 p.m. and June 28 at 10 p.m. I highly recommend this play, and advise you to grab your tickets while you still can.

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