Ben&Lucille: Capital Fringe Festival 2014

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I’ve always been interested in the Artist vs. the Realist — probably because when I told my father I wanted to be an artist his exact words were “don’t be an idiot.”

Like most of our parents, he grew up in a time when ‘choice’ was a luxury. Having to pack his bags and leave Hungary as a nine year old kid — travel at the dead of night through forest and hill to get to Austria — didn’t exactly give him the ‘I can be anything’ feeling most kids like to revel in at nine years old. Losing his two brothers and younger sister in the Holocaust — he had to become a man faster than he’d liked.

“Get a job; learn a trade; make money” were all hammered into me at a young age, so I’m sure being an unemployed artist pissed him off pretty good. I knew I wanted to be an artist at a young age, and had a desire to share [the way I see] the world with complete strangers, but his words are never far from my head — you’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your life. Stop trying to be an actor. You’re not funny. You’re not talented. Quit, and get a real fucking job. Do something for the Spotted Owl; something for inner city kids; something for Africa.

Just like I’m a disappointment to him — I’m also a disappointment to me. Which brings me to Ben&Lucille.

A romantic comedy about a couple in a long distance relationship. He’s an artist who just left an unsuccessful career in New York and now resides in DC; she’s a graduate student at NYU getting her Ph. D in the Humanities. He’s ten years older; she’s ten years younger. He is [by nature] a free spirit, but at this moment wants to settle down, make a life, make plans for the future. She is [by nature] a person who makes roots, but at this moment wants to fight for a cause, forge an unseen path, create her own future. There’s a little bit of the realist in him (because of his fear of failure), there’s little bit of the artist in her (because of her fear of settling).

I’ve been in a long distance relationship, and I can say without malice that is a shitty thing to be in. It’s a lot of pain with a real slow burn. A long distance relationship’s DNA is created by strains of suffering. Suffering at a snail’s pace. The three basic foundations are vulnerability, torture, and psychological wear-down.

You don’t break up because you’re in love (which is a pretty hard thing to find). You have good times! If one of you wan’t going off to NYU — you would still be living together. But you take away a painting — it’s no longer there. If you injure your leg in a soccer match — you’re not playing soccer. When you spend your day telling someone else about your day — that someone else knows more about you, and on, and on, till you realize that what you had, no matter how strong it was — is a ‘was’ — it’s not coming back; now take a breath and slowly suffer till you forget the fact that you will probably never be in love again. (Until, miraculously somehow you are.)

Will Ben&Lucille make it? Will they fight? Will they fuck? Will they kiss and cuddle? Will they find new and inventive ways to hurt each other? Will they realize what they have is not something that comes around everyday?

I’ve read the play a hundred times; I still don’t know.

Gloria Productions Presents

Elan Zafir

Directed by Orion Jones
Starring Elan Zafir & Danielle Peterson

Saturday, July 12, 5-6pm;
Wednesday, July 16, 6:30-7:30pm;
Sunday, July 20, 7-8pm;
Wednesday, July 23, 9:15-10:15pm;
Friday, July 25, 8-9pm

Atlas Lab II
1333 H Street NE (Between 13th and 14th Street)
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 399-7993

Capital Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the purpose of connecting exploratory artists with adventurous audiences by creating outlets and spaces for creative, cutting-edge, and contemporary performance in the District. Capital Fringe’s vital programs ensure the growth and continued health of the local and regional performing arts community by helping artists become independent producers while stimulating the vibrant cultural landscape in our city.

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