Vice Cabinet

All strung out: The Fortune Teller
photo: Oliver Dalzell

In First Corinthians, Saint Paul assures us that "faith, hope, and love abide," but during an evening at the theater one would much rather hang out with wrath, lust, and avarice. Eric Sanko agrees: In The Fortune Teller, his first foray into puppet theater, he's constructed a repulsively refulgent marionette show featuring the seven deadly sins. in an Edwardian mansion with detailing to make a House & Garden subscriber drool (that wallpaper! that mantel! that taxidermy!), representatives of each vice congregate for the reading of a will.

Our narrator Silas Leech, an attorney represented as a besuited crocodile, introduces this unusual testament. Instead of composing a standard list of bequests, the late Nathaniel Axe has decreed that each attendee will have his inheritance revealed by a sinister, masked figure. Silas listens from another room as the fortune-teller begins to arrange a stack of tarot cards. In gory and Gorey fashion, the fortune-teller prophesies a gruesome and appropriate death for each of the assembled: choking for the gluttonous, impalement for the wrathfuSl.

If, as in many a fairy tale, the story structure repeats itself wearily, Sanko and his team provide ample recompense. He and erstwhile Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman offer a delightfully eerie score that tickles and alarms. Irish songster Gavin Friday lends his gravelly tones to the narration. The design team has built costumes and sets with any number of sinister trims and frills. Indeed, for those souls with a taste for the elegantly macabre, attendance is highly advised. To miss it—now that would be a sin.


The Fortune Teller
By Eric Sanko
HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue

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