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'Desperate Acts' brings surpressed honesty in two short one-acts

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"Desperate Acts" by Jamie Lin

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Young playwright Jamie Lin submitted a piece for the 2014 Kansas City Fringe Festival, “Desperate Acts,” a combination of two pieces, “Obsession” and “Confession,” performed at the Phosphor Studio in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

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Lin’s two pieces fit tightly into the one-hour format, of competition and are directed by Erik J. Pratt. Both pieces are very worth pieces and display the budding playwright’s talent. The second piece, “Confessions” causes more laughter and is better conceived, in that it flows smoothly throughout its entirety.

In “Confession” four cast members blurt out deeply hidden secrets and transgressions in situations that some audience members may or may not identify with. But, rest assured, they all bring explosions of laughter as each actor brings his acting to the forefront to deliver each line. The piece runs about 20 minutes and is funny and engaging from start to finish.

The first play is more intricate. It’s the past and present at the same time. It’s not clear if you are flashing forward or backward as the piece unfolds and the audience begins to catch on. The piece is cleverly written, but the staging is awkward with about seven scene and set changes. No scene is more than five minutes and some are only two or three minutes. That segments the piece and is confusing to the audience. The piece needs to flow better as it continues to develop.

Lin calls on Norse mythology for one character, Loki, who also has roots in Greek and Roman mythology, but under different names. He is the character of chaos. He can change form, dimension, change from good to evil and back, so the audience needs to focus on his current disposition.

Loki is portrayed brilliantly by Mike Ott, who generally performs with Theater for Young America. This allows him to display more of the breadth of his talent. He’s funny in both pieces, yet creepy and slime in “Obsession.”

The cast for both acts includes: Meghann Bates, Misty Dixon, Jeremy Michael Edwards, Michael Ott, Erik J. Pratt, Jamie Lin. Pratt directs and Rachael Mallinson serves as stage manager.

“Desperate Acts” works well as a Fringe piece and shows the importance of such festivals for new works to be tested before audiences. Both pieces show promise and are scholarly written and conceived. Give Lin lots of credit for creating interesting characters and seeing a way to simultaneously tell the same story in different centuries.

The show is well worth the time and money. It’s an interesting and scholarly piece. For tickets and information, check the KC Fringe website.

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