Mark Shyzer’s Fishbowl is one man, four characters, all very different, all very outrageous, all very… fringe?
Mark Shyzer tells you why you should see it:
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Fishbowl is a comedy following the life of four completely different characters all performed by the same guy. The show acts as a sort of confessional for the characters, where they talk about their life and who they are.
Mark Shyzer, the writer and performer has admitted to not being a performer. Well, he could have fooled me. All his characters are surprisingly strong and have distinct personalities, postures and verbal habits that differentiate them from each other. Admittedly, Shyzer’s performances are light on movement, with characters never really moving from their original poses. But the delivery and lines are enough to keep you engaged. Also, Shyzer introduces all the characters in costume once but then scraps the costumes altogether and does the rest of the show in black, allowing only his voice and body to convey the character. This is quite the risk but as it forces the audience to use their imagination to fill in the visuals from earlier, but it’s all worth it since the lack of costume changes gives Shyzer the freedom to switch on a dime and preserve the flow of the play.
And while the show is a comedy, it still has a poignancy that makes it all the more effective. There are revelations during the course of the show that I won’t reveal here, but it centres on the theme of how even though they seem worlds apart, they are actually much closer than they realize. Fishbowl is a surprise hit and I give it a four.
Photo provided by Mark Shyzer via the Ottawa Fringe Festival.