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June 19, 2017:

Stringmates reviewed by Rob Stevens


Amanda Noriko Newman’s Stringmates at the Hollywood Fringe is a very intriguing offering about what constitutes a “soul mate” in our modern world. The concept is based on an East Asian legend called the “Red String of Fate” whose basic idea is that the gods tie a red string connecting two people who are destined for one another. These people are soul mates and no matter the distance or how the string twists and turns, the string will never break. These people will be forever connected. In her play, Newman has created several different strings of soul mates. The Red Man (Thomas Davis) finds his string is attached to a book, Plato’s Republic. Very puzzling to him. The Green Man (Alexander Hurren) asks the Doctor (Elyse Hamilton) to cut his string. His parents were soul mates and they had a very unhappy relationship and he does not want to experience that. And yet by a strange twist of fate he seems to end up with the Green Woman (Cassidy Davis) who was heartbroken when her string was severed. The funniest and most touching pair are the Doctor and the Yellow Woman (Sarah Ruttan) who discover they are stringmates. The Doctor is basically asexual and the Woman is heterosexual but they give it a go and discover they are definitely not lesbians but do become loving friends when one is diagnosed with leukemia. There are also stringmates (William Clayton, Angel Ramsdell, Anaiah Simons, Armando Eleazar Estrada, Dayle Embleton and Luis Martinez) who only interact through Brandon Bolte’s balletic choreography. Newman’s writing and Mahealani Leofa’s direction could use more precision but Stringmates is a very special bit of Fringe.



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