|Apathy Killed the Cat – Hollywood Fringe Festival Review
|By Rachel Flanagan
Apathy Killed the Cat is a one-act play written and directed by Ryan Lisman and premiering at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival. The play centers around an unstable playwright named Colin (Aaron Stall). Colin is slowly losing his grip on what little control he has over his life as his mom is catatonic in the hospital and his treasured cat Rosebud is on her last life. While he has a loving and devoted girlfriend Lily (Autumn Bruewer), he is tortured by a secret sexual desire that no one, himself included, can understand.
To cope with the recent loss of his cat and soon to be the loss of his mother, and to release some of the pent-up anxiety from his tortured past, Colin writes a lengthy play chronicling his life thus far. Even though she cannot read it, he leaves the script by his mother’s bedside as a symbolic gesture for all the plays she’s read in the past. When Colin’s brothers (John Woodley and Ethan Barker) come to visit, the secrets he’s tried to keep from those he’s closest to can no longer be contained. As Colin tries to keep his life together while everything is unraveling around him, will his loved ones find a way to understand him and manage to deal with his neurosis or will he be left alone in his own cat-filled fantasies? Maybe it wasn’t curiosity after all, but apathy that killed the cat.
Each of the characters were well cast in their respective roles. Fringe alum Bruewer played a seemingly opposite role in last years’ Chemistry, so this role showed a refreshing new side to her acting ability. While Stall bared it all (quite literally) in a much more serious and deeper role than that of his comedic performance in last year’s Fringe Shorts. While Barker, as the younger brother Miles filled the role of the younger brother not taken seriously, but also providing the much-needed comedic relief amongst some otherwise tense moments between brothers.
Finally, Woodley, playing the older and successful brother, expertly showed his “responsible older brother” side with a hint of vulnerability in needing his own moment to hide from the spotlight of the golden child and deal with his own secrets. Playwright Lisman shines in his writing that’s filled with sordid topics and dark themes, making for quite awkward scenes, but writes in such a way that you find yourself drawn to the character rather than repulsed by the culturally incorrect subject.
Apathy Killed the Cat ended at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival on June 23rd with a crowd that vocally enjoyed the dark topics and feline fantasies on stage with a huge round of applause for everyone as the show closed. This is Lisman’s third year participating in the Fringe and I’ve now had the pleasure to see two of his productions. Be sure to keep an eye out for this talented playwright as he still has more creativity to show the theater world in the future.
See the Hollywood Fringe Review here.