Safe opens abruptly, on a dark stage. The set is dark, simple and sparse. You can hear the silence of the room — I’m not sure if it’s intentional or a byproduct of the way sound was set up, but either way, it’s deliciously chilling.
There is a solitary person on stage. A nun, Sister Daisy, who appears to head a small community. Safe is set during the pandemic in a small, remote mountain village that is slowly succumbing to virus. With heat and supplies failing and low, Sister Daisy desperately pleads with God for assistance as she tries to keep her dwindling community afloat.
Throughout the entire production Sister Daisy talks to and interacts with members onstage who aren’t there. Is that a poetic representation of the nun’s loneliness, or is she truly isolated and slipping away into madness.
At first, this is a fun way to play with idea of isolation in the face of a horrifying existential crisis. Unfortunately, soon it feels like a sort of rambling monologue, which could tonally fit the show, if the dialogue were a little sharper and more concise.
At its core, Safe is about a very devout woman who sometimes loses her cool while taking care of the last remaining members of her community and during a crisis of faith. It’s an interesting idea to explore, but ultimately, I was craving something either more intense and thrilling or desperately cathartic and sad. Unfortunately, Safe never developed a strong enough sense of itself to guide the story toward a specific direction.
The Cincinnati Fringe Festival takes place June 4-19. For more information, show descriptions, a schedule and tickets, visit cincyfringe.com.