Under The Rainbow
By Alan Gerber
Starring Crystal Lizardo, Steven Flores and Sarah Purser
Opera Theatre Project of Valencia College
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Silver Venue
This may be opera, but it’s Opera Lite. Kevin (Flores) wants to marry his boyfriend (Peter Langford) and his priest (Ricardo Dominguez) naturally refuses. The priest holds to his convictions so tightly that a 2 minute duet with the Injured Activist (Purser, who was knocked over in the opening) convinces him that love is more important than theology. He’s either a wishy-washy Catholic or a bigoted Unitarian, but he’s quickly on board the Gay Marriage train. After a stop in a jazz club where Chardonnay (Courteni Dunbar) is scatting, we head to the altar where Kevin breaks down because mom (Lizardo) has refused to attend the service. I can see shy she’s miffed; she discovered Kevin’s intentions when she got the wedding invitation. But hold off, there no failing diva here, no alternative path, no hero riding in to rescue anyone, just Kevin’s Guardian Angel (Emily Grainger) who sits down with mom and talks her into loving her boy no matter what. After that epiphany it’s a joyful “I do” or two and the credits roll.
I liked the singing, but I’m mystified by this amazingly short story. Clocking in at 35 minutes, there’s little motivation and even less struggle. People certainly want things but the composer hands them out freely and we never get a chance to invest in anyone’s journey. With no work for the protagonist and a nearly nonexistent antagonist the audience never comes anywhere near a tear. Perhaps it would be more appealing suing in Italian and we had to deduce the story form the emotional content of the music, but in English everything is telegraphed in bright red letters. But come for the music, the four piece group sounds like a small symphony and the voices are clear and well sung. Ignore the libretto, its light weight and forgettable.
This production is part of the 2014 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Information on tickets and show times may be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/