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Hollywood Fringe 2014 experience Day Two (part three)

Kyla Garcia's The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly is a must see!
Kyla Garcia's The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly is a must see!, used by permission

You can find part one here and part two here.

For my last two shows of the night I headed back to Theatre Asylum. The first of those two shows, Woof Woof, continued the theme of PTSD begun at We Can be One. As I mentioned in that review, though, Woof Woof came at the subject from a totally different perspective.

Woof Woof tells the story of Jimmy, a veteran of the Iraq War who suffers from PTSD and traumatic brain injury as a result of an IED attack on his unit. Recently released from the Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., he hitchhikes to NYC to see his childhood friend, Chuck, who he hasn't seen in eight years.

Jimmy is played by Brett Donaldson, who breathes life into the character, making the audience feel his pain and suffering as a result of his service to his country. Mad Men's Jay Seals likewise truly inhabits Chuck who, although not a veteran, suffers from his own form of PTSD as a result of a childhood incident with Jimmy. Rounding out the cast is Devin Skrade, who plays Chuck's roommate and friend, Brandon, and is hiding a dirty secret from Chuck.

Paul Hoan Ziedler has written an impressive script that is truly brought to life by his brilliant direction and an amazing cast. I felt Jimmy's pain, understood Chuck's misguided attempt to help his friend, and even forgave Brandon's betrayal. This play moves you, and leaves you in a different place than when you first entered the theater.

If you want a better understanding of what a soldier feels like upon his/her return from a war time deployment, I strongly encourage you to see this show. The remaining performances are June 20 at 8:30 p.m., June 26 at 7 p.m. and June 28 at 7:30 p.m

Last but not least on this day was The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly, a delightfully funny fairy tale written and performed by Kyla Garcia. Garcia has the energy and dynamic of a two-year old, which she delightfully shares with her audience. Her energy permeates the show and spreads across the theater, leaving the audience awakened and refreshed at the show's conclusion.

The play tells the story of a fairy who is kept alive by the creativity of her human benefactor Victoria. Each and every character is well developed and portrayed by Garcia, who truly shines in the dimension of a one-woman show. She does it so well that you almost feel like there is an entire cast on stage.

Garcia's storytelling ability is the stuff of legends, and her ease at slipping from one character to the next makes you want to sit, listen and watch her all day. But not only is she a brilliant actress but she is also a dancer, and intersperses her interpretive dance throughout the performance. The only drawback is that she is so good at her storytelling that the dance segments almost seem like an interruption to the flow of the story. They're almost like commercials on a TV program, making you want to fast forward to get back to the action of the play. Nevertheless, once Garcia resumes her storytelling, the audience finds that it was worth the wait.

There is only one remaining performance on June 28 at 8:30 p.m. in the Elephant Studio. Garcia's Mermaid is too good to miss, so buy your tickets in advance so you don't miss out.

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