Dive into a twisted universe, where drama meets everyday life, where every moment is every bit as interesting as the next. Welcome to the world of….reality TV. What is real and what is false becomes painfully difficult to decipher in FringeNext's production of Persephone's Prerogative.
Kyla Norton is a force to be reckoned with. As author and director she created a script that sailed over expectations. Through the juxtaposition of contrasting personalities, viewpoints, and ideas, Norton challenges the very ideals that hold the fabric of our society together. Yet, her story is not preachy or cynical, it merely brings our world into question through the debates of two accidental reality TV stars. Through the lens of reality TV, Norton examines what exactly reality is in our society today, an artificial construct created by the makers of reality TV and all who submit to what is not real, but interesting.
This questioning takes the form of a debate in the form of two starving actresses, Ann and Meryl. Ann, the quiet girl from Scottsdale, finds her perspectives on art challenged by the no-nonsense Meryl, the Bronx-girl who tears down Ann's glorified ideas of art. Both actresses complemented each other's energy well. At times, however, it seemed like the messages each was portraying was over their heads, yet, they brought their performance back down to Earth through their tireless and relentless debates, and their physicality and reactions during these duels.
The other pair, the TV host and her camera man find themselves at heads when the falsely cheerful newscaster begins to become disillusioned with her job as the ringleader of a false reality. The TV host was excellent at portraying the conflict of surrendering what is acceptable for what is right. Her almost crazed energy as she found herself free from broadcasting false reality was captivating.
Persephone's Prerogative is unique in that it questioned human nature without getting angst or rebellious. It was a calm examination of the human experience. Kyla Norton may be in high school, but her script and story have long since graduated.
Persephone's Prerogative is part of FringeNext, an effort of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival to give high school students a chance to share their theatrical talents in a professional context.
By: Matt Ruehlman