Stage Review | Nicole Maxali's FORGETTING THE DETAILS
|Performer and playwright Nicole Maxali as Lola Encar in "Forgetting the Details." Photo © Mike Ricca|
At the beginning of Forgetting the Details, a one-woman show performed by actress-comedienne Nicole Maxali, she — narrating as a present-day version of herself — turns to the audience and asks: "Are memories enough when people and places are no longer there?" The show, which is featured as part of this year's New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) at The White Box, continually asks this question throughout the next hour and a half, as Maxali takes us back to her childhood in San Francisco, where she was selflessly raised by her grandmother, or Lola, as it is called in Tagalog.
|Nicole Maxali, here as the play's narrator, Nikki.|
The show's title may seem to only refer to Lola Encar's diminishing memory at first glance; however, by the show's end we realize that it's not just Lola Encar who forgets the details, but Nikki, as well. The same memories she has of Lola cooking Filipino-American mash-ups (sweet spaghetti with hot dogs, anyone?) and handing out ice cream to her second-grade classmates during recess are vivid and yet start to slowly fade into obscurity in her Lola's absence. In a scene entitled "I Heart Lola," Maxali proudly states: "Lolas show their love through food, through cooking, through acts of service...the first question in any Filipino household is, 'Have you eaten yet?'" And just as her Lola's dishes nourished her body and soul, we also leave the theater nourished by Maxali's dazzingly honest performance. She serves up a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy with a dash of some unique charm — all lovingly brought together the same way her own Lola would in the kitchen. The end result is a pot-belly full of laughter, tears and a heart full of warmth, all of which will make you want to dig up those old photo albums and hug your own Lola.
Forgetting the Details runs from August 13-22
at The White Box
(440 Lafayette Street between Astor Place and East 4th Street)
as part of the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC).
For more information on this production and Ms. Maxali's other works, click here.
For more information on FringeNYC, go here.