Dressing Miss Julie takes to heart that enduring lesson: You gotta get a gimmick. The production, an adaptation of Miss Julie, August Strindberg's revolutionary naturalist work of class, gender, and power, stresses audience involvement. When viewers ring a bell, Miss Julie (Anna Kull) and her servant Jean (Justin Perkins) not only switch roles but clothes as well.
The concept isn't as absurd as it sounds; it's grounded in Strindberg, who emphasizes constantly shifting power dynamics. Kull and Perkins, the brains behind the production, make transparent this nature of power by mirroring it in their roles and dress.
While this is an intriguing study, Kull and Perkins do not possess the chops to execute it successfully. Kull is anxious and flighty as Julie and Jean, while Perkins confidently dominates the stage in either role. It is not enough to change clothes and roles; without the power struggle that accompanies them, Strindberg's power fizzles.
Presented by Bells & Whistles Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center's Milagro Theater, 107 Suffolk St., NYC.
Aug. 10-25. Remaining performances: Tue., Aug. 14, 7:15 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 19, 2 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 25, 2 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or (888) 374-6436 or www.fringenyc.org.