Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Also see Rebecca's review of Hapgood
The story surrounds real life indie folk music troubadour Justin Vernon and his (at least initially) one man band Bon Iver. The majority of Bon Iver's first album "For Emma, Forever Ago" was recorded over three months that Justin spent in an isolated Wisconsin cabin getting over breakups with his band and his girlfriend, and a rough bout of mono. Williams started with this kernel of truth and built a fantastical creation myth for the artist and his debut album.
Emily Schuman pulled off annoyingly self-centered hipster kid Justin with aplomb. Her performance was loads of fun to watch, but the real star of the show was the foul mouthed, self-deprecating, science-loving bear starving just outside the cabin. Whether waxing poetic about starvation or chasing down an enchanted pine cone, Doug Greene (who played both the bear and Justin's father) was amazing. Together, Schuman and Greene brought a lively chemistry to this millennial fairy tale.
Though Bon Iver Fights a Bear has finished its run at the Fringe Festival, I hope it is not the last we see of this work. Learn more at https://boniverfightsabear.weebly.com. For more on the 2018 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, visit fringearts.com.
Director: Maura Krause