The List

Photograph: Katie McHugh
The White Box (at 440 Studios) , Downtown Saturday August 11 2012 17:15

Check smoke detector. Empty dishwasher. Defrost pie. The harried homemaker and mother in Jennifer Tremblay's sparse, poetic monodrama is constantly making to-do lists, trying not to feel discombobulated amid the chaos of raising three young children and coping with the alienation she feels in the country village she now calls home. But this unnamed narrator's seemingly organized existence can't assuage the responsibility she feels for the death of Caroline, a local woman who became her best friend. Over the course of an hour (about 15 minutes too long), Tremblay's protagonist subtly reveals the contradictions of her apparently complicated life: She yearns for companionship yet regards her peers as “nosy bitches,” and writing something down doesn't mean she will do it. As embodied by Sofi Lambert in the U.S. premiere of this French-Canadian play (translated by Shelley Tepperman), she's a model of mindful self-possession on the verge of falling apart. Director Katie McHugh works Lambert into a flurry of movement as she scrawls her character's to-dos on the set's white crates and paper floor covering. You're left appreciating the power of simple acts, both human and theatrical. (Visit our Fringe Festival page for more reviews, and for more information.)—Diane Snyder

Venue name: The White Box (at 440 Studios)
Address: 440 Lafayette St
New York

Cross street: between Astor Pl and E 4th St
Transport: Subway: N, R to 8th St–NYU; 6 to Astor Pl
Price: $15, at the door $18