By Jay Menard
To me, Peachy Keen Productions represents what Fringe should be: quirky, creative, and filled with heart. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a shining example of the best that Fringe has to offer.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. The opening-night performance featured some significant challenges in the audio and lighting — to the point where the production became a little disjoined. But overall the heart and soul of show came shining through.
For those not familiar, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a film archetype — think Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown or Natalie Portman in Garden State (or basically anything that Zooey Deschanel has ever done). These women exist solely to serve the man’s purpose. They are one-dimensional, uber-cute, and have no motivation of their own, other than to save the male protagonist.
Peachy Keen’s production deconstructs the Manic Pixie Dream Girl from the inside — facing head on the challenge of a character that’s self-aware enough to know that self-awareness will destroy the archetype.
It will destroy her very reason to live.
Sidney Hayduk’s Dream Girl is sent by the writers of the production to save Justin Otto’s troubled male writer character. At times, it becomes a play within a play within a play. And the fourth wall, along with conventional archetypes, are shattered along the way.
In the end, we’re left to question what matters? Are our needs elevated by the unquestioning support of another, or does that unwavering devotion without thought of one’s own needs undermine our personal growth? Are we not better — however we define that word — through our growth as fully formed partners?
Do we need to be served to be saved? Or is salvation a product of mutual support? Can we kill the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Should she ever have existed in the first place?
Even with the technical challenges, this is Fringe at its best.