CinyFringe Review: Blue Collar Diaries

Character is key to most theatre.  The characters in a blue collar neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota are as plentiful as bodies of water in the Land of Lakes.  Blue Collar Diaries, presented by Bridge Productions, is a one woman show exploring the depth of those characters.  Playwright Michelle Myers Berg performs each of the characters with sharp detail.  Using nothing more than a slight clothing change or few props, Berg transforms into each person with ease.

The acting on this production is the highlight.  The voices a lone are worth going.  Berg has the tone and sound of the people she grew up with.  Her Parents, the odd people down the street, the grounded lady on the radio all paint an audio picture that is filled with subtle motion to bring them to life.

This piece is a portrait of being blue collar in America in the 1960's and 1970's.  The simple elements of life that are not so simple when you have horrors in the past that can't be forgotten.

There is not a narrative to this piece, other than a focus of Berg's father, dealing with the person he had to be during the Korean War as a sniper.  They rest of the characters outside the family didn't add to that story.  I think structurally the piece had two parts that could stand alone stronger: One is Berg's family, the other are the characters of St. Paul.  I would like to see the latter explored more.

This piece can be recommend to those who experienced the 60's and 70's firsthand.  The cultural memories are really effective to those of us who can know what life was like in that period.

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