Hearts Like Fists Review: Eric Sundermann, Village Voice

(Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum. Pictured: Marnie Schulenburg, Becky Byers. Post by August Schulenburg.)

Well, THIS is a pleasant surprise. Our last review from the Voice was so indifferently nasty that it remains to this day the only review of my work I haven’t been able to respond to–it just hurt (and still hurts) too much. So the fact that the Voice came back is happy news enough. Happier still, the review is very good, and perhaps happiest of all, the review is written in a style new to the Voice–as interested in engaging with the themes of the play as the execution (something Will Kenton always does well) and writing within the voice of the play (something Aaron Riccio often does to great affect) as opposed to snarkily against it. This always seems to me a particularly valuable choice, because it allows the reader to get a feel for the play beyond a thumbs up or down. Check out the first paragraph in particular to see what I mean.

My favorite quote, however, comes at the end:

Fists argues that the most important moments in life are the ones directly in front of us, and that we shouldn’t let being hurt in the past affect our decisions moving forward. It’s goofy. It’s absurd. But it hits hard where it counts—right in the ticker.”

I like this because it underscores one of the most important things about Adam’s early-to-middle period plays (if one can use such language for a still-young playwright); these plays are funny because they lead with their heart. Whether they’re clowns or pirates or super-heroes or animals, the funny only works if it’s a feeling funny.

At our most recent retreat, his plays seem to be carving out a territory that is less color-saturated and more stark (though still plenty funny); I’m excited to see where he goes next!

But that’s for tomorrow: Today is for Hearts Like Fists, so see you at the theatre.

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