Off-Off-Broadway Review: “Scratching” at FringeNYC 2016 at the Player’s Theatre

Off-Off-Broadway Review: “Scratching” at FringeNYC 2016 at The Player’s Theatre (Closed Friday August 26, 2016)
Written by Britton Buttrill
Directed by Miles Mandwelle
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

In Britton Buttrill’s “Scratching,” four characters who seem to have no interest in “climbing up and scratching” their ways to “start something new” appear stuck in a Sisyphean loop with no hope of purifying their karma.

Estranged brothers Christian (Karsten Otto) and Adrian (Tyler Gardella) spent their early years watching their abusive father beat their collusive mother. Christian left their Southern town for New York City with Tracy (Alexandria Collins) to start a new life as the tattoo artist who is able to see within a person that which lasts beyond death. That venture fails and he returns home to stripper drug dealer Brianna (Andi Morrow) who is not the least bit supportive. Tracy travels to the South to reclaim Christian and instead lands in the arms of Adrian who stayed home and continued to be abused by his father.

It is difficult to care for these four self-destructive characters who have no clue who they are or where they are going or when they are being objectified. Their lives are beyond hope and there is no chance of a redemptive catharsis at the end of this misbegotten play.

The actors do what they can with the script with seemingly little help from director Miles Mandwelle. The whole ordeal is far too long, extended by a meaningless and gratuitous sex scene.