Skin Horse Theater’s original work Sarah debuted as a Bring Your Own Venue show in the New Orleans Fringe Festival and continues through Dec. 18. It is cleverly staged in a Bywater home undergoing renovation. The action takes place in a living room space and chairs for a limited audience line three walls. At times, the claustrophobic effect is perfect for the drama. In the work, Kate (Veronica Hunsinger-Loe) and Caleb (Evan Spigelman) are in a marriage straining under the weight of an unclear problem that leaves her either depressed or delusional.
Through the stress of her despondent state and the haze of the enigmatic problem, they are trying to cope, and old friends come to town and join them for dinner. The visitation is literally played as a dinner party, and it affords Hunsinger-Loe the play’s best moment of humor as she gorges herself somewhat conspicuously and impolitely as the others pretend to not notice.
Unfortunately, the play is too narrowly conceived and only capable acting keeps it moving through a slow start. Its only real concern is the mystery of what’s bothering Kate, and that leaves the houseguests as sort of functional but one-dimensional characters. And once it’s revealed that everyone knows something is wrong with Kate, it underscores the problem of holding off until the hour mark in an 80-minute production to really dig into the matter. The actors all throw themselves into the tension and angst, but there needs to be more at stake to sustain it. It’s good to see Skin Horse Theater presenting another original and unconventional work. The company delivered a solidly entertaining version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in March, and that production showed it can deliver on a more demanding show, even if that also was mostly about one character's issues.
Sarah runs at 9 p.m. Dec. 1-4, 8-11, 15-18
1239 Congress St.