Fugly opens to a voice over of a tale about women who can attain love, marriage and happiness if they knit. The world can crash around them, they would abandon every other endeavor but knitting, (there seems to be a theme of knitting in the Stash building at the Fringe). Enter Perdita (Helen Knight) who doesn’t remember her name, or how she got into this strange world. She is greeted by an Agent (Heather Falk) who examines her baggage and asks her all sorts of questions. She meets Echo (Joleen Ceraldi) who winds up being her guide in this journey to find her mind, because she realizes that she has lost it.
The play then unfolds as Perdita goes on a quest to find her mind and guided by Echo, meets many characters along the way. Each character reflects something within Perdita, something within all of us. Our desire to be beautiful, as defined by society. Perdita and the people she meets talk about how the things that made them different, fueled their fear or rejection. It’s all portrayed with cartoon like props, innovative stage design and stage makeup that situates the characters in a world that is not our own.
Fugly illustrates the demons that haunt us, a community focused on looks and fitting in. ‘A prison is still a prison’ is one of the phrases that gets repeated. Though the topic that the narrative tries to explore is interesting, the presentation is a little off the mark. The narrative goes a little too much into fantasy and absurdity to have a sharp impact. The play doesn’t pull a hard lesson from our obsession with beautiful, and in a play with this spin of creativity, it should.
Fugly is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. It plays one more time in the festival. More information is available online.