Serenity Fisher, creator of Sophie’s Dream, the 2010 Audience Pick of the Fringe, has again brought her hyper-personal and very sincere brand creativity to a Fringe stage with Opal Opus: Journey to Alakazoo. (It’s being presented at the “Hanke 2” venue, 1128 Main St.)
Opal describes itself as a “pop’ra,” best understood as a pop operetta that is sometimes mystical, sometimes messy and always musical. Fisher plays The Writer. Curled up behind her keyboard in her pajamas, she takes the audience deep into her own imagination. We follow her as she creates a family of four (each has a name that starts with the letter J), the sad world they live in and the fairytale journey they embark on to find love and themselves. There are old wise women with magic wands, singing creatures called UgaMugs, a terrifying mountaintop game show with scary-steep stakes, a kazoo, and a much-loved tree frog named Pumpernickel. Opal is a story within a story, The Writer’s creative journey and the family’s journey taking place on top of one another.
A family friendly affair, Opal Opus comes in around an hour and a half with no intermission. Fisher acts, sings and dances in the show yet still manages to accompany practically the whole thing with the help of cellist Jennifer Higgins Wheatley. Both Fisher and Opal co-creator Robin O’Neal-Kissel have a charming knack for self-deprecating humor. On a couple of occasions, The Writer frets to the audience that what she’s just composed might be complete crap.
Fisher’s music is challenging and imaginative, and the delightful cast is full of strong singers. The show has moments when it is hard to follow and so very, very whimsical it feels random. It’s easy to imagine a young writer sitting down at her keyboard and imagining one thing and then another and another and another and then and then and then … But Opal Opus is a show about growth and how harrowing, daunting, and inspiring the creative process can be.