Theater Review: Caitlin and the Swan

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The Management has become known for dark comedies with an element of magic realism, and Dorothy Fortenberry’s Caitlin and the Swan (at UNDER St. Marks through May 2) is no exception. Director Joshua Conkel illuminates the curious psychological world of Fortenberry’s imagination, in which the animalistic metaphors of women’s sex lives become flesh and blood. Led by her worldly friends and her own exploratory spirit, naïve Caitlin (the excellent Marguerite French) plumbs the mysteries of fulfillment with charm, if little subtlety. (This isn’t a subtle play.) Dancer Elliott T. Reiland scores as the fantastical animals, both graceful and gruff, and Jake Aron strikes a delicate balance between innocence and abandon as Bastian, a cerebral high schooler who becomes Caitlin’s confidante. Rigid questionnaires and tests play the foil to the forces of imagination — Bastian prepares for the SATs, while the women mock a sociology survey about “work-life balance.” Uneven acting and visible opening-night jitters made Thursday’s show less than all it could have been, but the performances in this enjoyable one-act should cohere to match the pointed fun of its conceits.

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