Well-acted ‘Ludlow Fair’ offers superb end to Mini-Fringe Fest

Often referred to as a “bedtime story between two girl roommates,” Lanford Wilson’s “Ludlow Fair” is just that – a short but sweet story of the lives of two friends.

The story, which was presented at the Schuster Theatre as part of Gannon University’s Mini-Fringe Festival, follows Rachel, played by freshman French/international studies business major Sarah Sgro, and Agnes, played by sophomore theatre and communication arts major Allison Kessler.

Rachel is the drama queen of the pair – the show opens with the audience finding themselves in the middle of her kooky self-analysis, complete with pretending to be a therapist analyzing her behavior and pouring nail polish into a dictionary to evaluate how crazy she is acting. As the story progresses, the audience learns that Rachel turned in her latest lover, Joe, because he stole money from both her and Agnes.

Sgro did an excellent job portraying the ridiculous persona of Rachel. She’s both funny and strangely fascinating as Rachel, and although Sgro is still a newcomer to the Schuster stage, she’s well on her way to making her mark in the theatre department.

Agnes comes into the story about halfway through Rachel analyzing herself – a bit quieter and less outrageous than Rachel, Agnes isn’t without her faults. Although Agnes tries to be a good roommate and help Rachel take her mind off of turning in Joe, Agnes is dealing with both a cold and the prospect of going on a date with her boss’s son the next day.

Kessler is as witty and amusing as Agnes – she truly makes the audience believe she is fighting a terrible cold the entire time she is on stage and still manages to be loveable and quirky. One of the great things about Kessler is her ability to play a variety of characters, and this strength is definitely apparent in each show she does.

Although the show is relatively short and simple, the message one takes away from the story is an important one.  Everyone has a little bit of both Rachel and Agnes inside of them – a crazy side and a rational side – and the beauty of life is in finding a balance between the two sides. It’s OK to accept and have fun with both sides.

“Ludlow Fair” closed Gannon University’s Mini-Fringe Festival, which consisted of six shows benefiting the students traveling to the Intercollegiate Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August.

Directed by senior theatre and communication arts major Kathleen Cahill, with lighting done by Schuster Theatre technical director Jax Kubiak and stage managed by freshman criminal justice major Lauren Chounet, the production was an excellent ending to a successful month of shows.


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