The Hollywood Fringe Festival Review: DARK ARTS: PRELUDE

In this day and age, with all that is going on in the world, crisis counseling doesn't seem like such a bad thing. We all face a crisis at one point in our life, whether big or small, and they can be life changing depending on the situation at hand. When I heard that there was going to be a show at Hollywood Fringe that focused on crisis counseling, titled DARK ARTS, I was more than intrigued. The artwork for the event showed a man and a woman, with serious expressions on their faces, almost as if they were ready to go into battle. Having just gone through my own "crisis", I figured, what the hell, let's see what their deal is and how they go about trying to help those who have found themselves in a dilemma. 

The show that I attended was DARK ARTS: PRELUDE, not to be confused with their main show, DARK ARTS, which is playing at Hollywood Fringe. What I experienced was a 20 minute introduction to the show which allowed me to get a better understanding of the counselors and what they could offer. Prior to my appointment, I received an email with a brief questionnaire which allowed the crisis counselors, Andrew St. Jude and Lyndsey Klein, insight into what my dilemma was. I made sure to answer truthfully and openly as I wanted to get the most out of my experience. 

When I arrived at my designated time I was met by St. Jude and Klein's assistant who proceeded to go over my questionnaire while also telling me about her experience with the counselors. From what I gathered, they had helped her during a really tough time when her boyfriend had cheated and she was incredibly grateful for their services. While she continued with her story, I noticed St. Jude and Klein in a conference room pacing about and talking rather loudly and intensely. I didn't think much of it, I just assumed they were practicing their lines before meeting me. Before I knew it however, the assistant brought me over to the conference room door where Klein greeted me nicely and asked me to sit at the head of the table. I shook hands with St. Jude (who commented on my pumpkin purse) and got myself situated for whatever was about to come. 

The next 20 minutes were compelling as the three of us went back and forth about my crisis. At the same time this was happening, the nature of St. Jude and Klein's relationship began to bubble to the surface. In between them asking me personal questions that related to my crisis at hand, St. Jude also wanted to know what I would do in a certain situation that seemed to be troubling him. This scenario had to do with relationships and cheating which I found to be odd as it had nothing to do with my crisis. Soon my concerns began to fade away as I tried to unravel what exactly was happening between St. Jude and Klein. Themes of distrust, hurt, and loyalty hung heavy in the air and it seemed that either St. Jude or Klein had done something to hurt the other. Not wanting to give anything away, as I'm not sure if this will play out in the main DARK ARTS show, you could tell there was definitely palpable tension and heartache between the two. 

Even though my time with them was brief, I really enjoyed my overall experience. I have never done an immersive event that focused on finding a solution for a crisis and I liked how earnest and sincere St. Jude and Klein were to me. There was a kindness in their eyes when I relayed my story and I felt completely at ease speaking with them, even when their own demons began to show themselves. Actors Lawrence Meyes (Andrew St. Jude) and Stephanie Hyden (Lyndsey Klein) played their roles perfectly and I found myself impressed with their talent. Overall this is a show that has made me highly intrigued for what is to come and I would suggest that anyone interested in doing the DARK ARTS show should try out the PRELUDE first. After all, St. Jude and Klein are here to resolve your crisis in any way possible. 

Devastatingly Yours,
Shannon M. 

For tickets to DARK ARTS: PRELUDE, visit www.darkartsplay.com. Dates will be running from June 8, 13, 14, 15. For tickets to DARK ARTS visit http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4649. Dates will be running from June 10, 17, 21, 23.