Within the Fringe

From the copy desk to Byzantium, downtown offerings help us sweat the dog days

Linhart Theater at 440 Studios 440 Lafayette Street
Through August 26

Aquarium, Robin Maguire's debut play, capitalizes on the oft turned but apt act of staging human affairs around large fish tanks: In art terms, the aquarium's a readymade, a private/public space where we're vulnerable yet clouded. Architect Dennis Birdwell (Tim Redmond, also directing), before the "Big Bang" (the tank's collapse, the death of Otto the orca in a media moment), justifies his project to put a social creature in a cage: "No whale will ever be happy." We'd rather this be megalomania (en route to your standard redemption drama) than what it ends up being, a kind of anthropomorphism that makes us look worse and feel worse but gives the play its cool terror and, in the end, its sympathy. Phyllis Fong

Does anal-retentive take a hyphen? 	Wendy Weiner in her Elements of Style
photo: Fred Marco
Does anal-retentive take a hyphen? Wendy Weiner in her Elements of Style

Bridezilla Strikes Back!
Flea Theater
41 White Street
Through August 26

Cynthia Silver charms in this one-woman show that opens with a Bride of Chucky–esque montage and closes with The Velveteen Rabbit, whose "What is real?" passage could become the next big thing for wedding readings . Duped into starring on the Fox reality show Bridezillas through a confluence of misconception and conceit ("highbrow," "British," "discreet," "a documentary series, like Nova, but about weddings!"), borderline legality, and leading phrasing ("brutally honest," "sassy," "breath of fresh air!"), Silver wins one back for our team. And yes, everything—this too—is a construct, but we won't walk around believing "My wedding is contributing to love in the world" anymore. P.F.

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