Start Swimming

Critics

LemonMeter

50 %

Reviews: 4

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 9

James Fritz's Start Swimming is a surrealistic play drenched in political upheaval that asks what power young people have to create change. In a room: there are five people with nothing to go on other than their instincts and their desire to live. Is it worth taking risks when a misstep can destroy all they've worked for? How do they fight the unseen powers, that manipulate their fear to abuse control…all when the rules keep changing? Using Pavlovian consequences, Orwellian overtones, and theatre of cruelty style, this play questions authority, the definition of freedom, and explores the journey of resistance and revolution.

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Reviews

Avatar
"With it’s percussive chant-like poetry, Start Swimming is a call for revolution. This piece haunted me into the next day and when I tried to describe it to my mother on the phone, I choked up. The director and all the actors are very young and talented individuals. They bring the sting of their tenuous role in today’s society to the audience with unapologetic fierceness. My youngest daughter is the age of some of these actors, and my heart hurt to hear what they feel and experience on a day to day basis. The lack of hope is heartbreaking, but important to hear. Speaking of hearing, The sound was uncomfortably loud. I had to cover my ears for most of the show. I don’t think plays ever need to be auditorily assaulting to make a point. It is not your usual Fringe show, nor is it for everyone, but if you can stomach a hard look at what the young people in our culture are facing today, then absolutely see this beautiful effecting play."

sweet - Jennifer Chun


Avatar
"Indomitus seeks to be “bold, wild and fierce” but only manages to come off “mild, disorderly and naughty.” They lack, to use a Flamenco term, “garra.”"

sweet-sour - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Avatar
"Start Swimming definitely leaves an imprint on your soul and makes your mind go places you have not gone before. Somehow what happens on stage allows you to feel and think emotions you are suppressing in every day life: anger, disappointment, desire to reach the highest heights, fighting for what is yours... What happens on stage is a pure and beautiful composition of abstraction. Therefore, you really have to listen carefully. Once you hear what the characters are saying, really hear them and understand the subtext they are trying to deliver - you will get it. You will have a part of your universe opening up and discovering thoughts you almost forgot you could have, opinions you thought are incorrect, you will become strong again and you would want to go and make change. May be not for the whole world, but at least for yourself. It is always important to start small, just with yourself, before you will be ready to save the world. Start Swimming is empowering and motivating, uncomfortable and challenging. Are you ready to challenge yourself while watching the theater? Then go see it."

sweet - Anastasia Perevozova


Patrick Chavis
"Start Swimming's experimental approach can't cover up a lack of ideas when it comes to the message, it’s trying to convey."

sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nonetheless, this cast of LACC students is crisp and well-rehearsed, tackling synchronized movement and overlapping text with ease. As the characters wake up to the injustice they face, the ensemble transforms from a judgmental Greek chorus to a band of revolutionaries."

sweet-sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"In a series of well choreographed and timed movements, this superb cast commands the stage in a wonderful combination of rhythm and language, as they defiantly question their unseen authority figure. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Kevin Hopps - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


Avatar
"What is the right answer? In a Pavlov-ian exploration of the modern world, Start Swimming asks the question, “Why?” and then attempts to explore all of the answers. In a play that James Fritz (the author) describes as, “something that would articulate how our cast felt about growing up marginalised in a major city during a time of incredible political upheaval” (Introduction, Start Swimming) this is not a resolution to the revolution. It is reason behind it. It is the story of our own minds, our hearts, and how we got to where we are now. The director, Alexandra Fiallos, has taken the text of what could be an abstract exercise in repetition on paper and delivered context in a way that only theatre may provide. It is a theatrical experience tailor-made for the Millennial, and yet the ideas are older than we sometimes acknowledge. In the age of spin, we are gas lit into thinking that these revolutions, the ones that are enacted, instigated, and then summarily quashed onstage at The Broadwater Mainstage for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, will never work. Yet they do. They have. The questions and answers that Start Swimming provides are not new, but they are all that we have asked and answered so far in our lives. It is a precious moment to have them all lain out, and to know that there are still more, and that we are not done yet. Not by a long shot. See this play. Only then can you start asking the questions that matter."

sweet - David Graybill


Avatar
"I saw this production in February at LACC and was blown away. I had already seen a different production of Start Swimming which I thought was very good and the bar was set high. This production is out of this world. If you only see one play at Fringe it must be Start Swimming. You won’t regret it!"

sweet - Lise


Avatar
"Start Swimming is a brilliantly dark, metaphorical exploration of abusive power structures, how systematic rewards and punishments can be used to shape behavior and push us over the edge, and the ways that our society is already a dystopian nightmare. The total production is an amazingly strange and gritty synthesis of the director's strength and clarity of vision, the talent, and dedication of the actors, the focused aesthetic excellence of the set and costume design, and some jarring audiovisual effects, all combine to create an experience that is far more than the sum of its parts. I guarantee you've never seen anything like it."

sweet - John McDonough


Avatar
"Start Swimming is an interesting play that will make you think if you let it. The choreography is dynamic and really sells the danger of the play; there's never a dull moment on the stage. The actors all get the message of the play across very well, and their struggles throughout it are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes painfully or hilariously relatable. It's a great play that has memorable moments for nearly anyone who watches it."

sweet - Cyrus Palizban


Avatar
"I watched this production when it first went up in February and I don't think any description prepared me for what unfurled on the stage. A dystopian world unfolds itself in front of the audience's eyes and it is quickly understood in the dynamics between the actors and their set. This play almost mimics contemporary choral pieces, combining together rhythms that normally don't match but flow seamlessly somehow through its message. The message itself is up for the audience to interpret and ponder upon, definitely questioning authority but also questioning our willingness to stick to what's deemed correct or what we morally feel is right. The vocal quality says it all as each character, a different number, has it's own volume and pitch, personalizing an objectively nameless character into someone understandable. The cast works very well together in this ensemble piece, always on the balls of their feet, ready for what comes next. The costumes unify it with it's urgency, no notice to the rips and tears but a utilitarian sense in the belts and easily moveable clothing. The effects are particularly intriguing with it's seeming repetition but slight difference in every cue, making you delve into the message even further. And all of this is under the umbrella of the director who brings her flexibility, intelligence, and creativity to the stage with this bare bones script brought to a new dimension."

sweet - Rachel Frost


Avatar
"Start swimming is a beautiful, abstract, thought provoking, piece that highlights multiple facets of our broken society. Showing how, we as people go through our lives fighting for our survival, but the social, political, and economical constructs that we live with are engineered to work against us. After watching start swimming, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It empowered me, and inspired me, not only as a fellow artist, but as a human being. I am, and will continue to encourage people to come see this play, because it's not only a beautiful piece of art, but it is also a message that we need to hear right now."

sweet - Karole Bennett


Avatar
"Wow, you have to see this show. Start Swimming is SO powerful. It has had a lasting impact on me in the most incredible way. The director did a fantastic job; the actors and their performance caused not only an emotional reaction, but a physical one. Absolutely put this on your list."

sweet - Jillian Ross


Avatar
"Indomitus seeks to be “bold, wild and fierce” but only manages to come off “mild, disorderly and naughty.” They lack, to use a Flamenco term, “garra.”"

sweet-sour - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Patrick Chavis
"Start Swimming's experimental approach can't cover up a lack of ideas when it comes to the message, it’s trying to convey."

sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nonetheless, this cast of LACC students is crisp and well-rehearsed, tackling synchronized movement and overlapping text with ease. As the characters wake up to the injustice they face, the ensemble transforms from a judgmental Greek chorus to a band of revolutionaries."

sweet-sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"In a series of well choreographed and timed movements, this superb cast commands the stage in a wonderful combination of rhythm and language, as they defiantly question their unseen authority figure. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Kevin Hopps - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


Avatar
"With it’s percussive chant-like poetry, Start Swimming is a call for revolution. This piece haunted me into the next day and when I tried to describe it to my mother on the phone, I choked up. The director and all the actors are very young and talented individuals. They bring the sting of their tenuous role in today’s society to the audience with unapologetic fierceness. My youngest daughter is the age of some of these actors, and my heart hurt to hear what they feel and experience on a day to day basis. The lack of hope is heartbreaking, but important to hear. Speaking of hearing, The sound was uncomfortably loud. I had to cover my ears for most of the show. I don’t think plays ever need to be auditorily assaulting to make a point. It is not your usual Fringe show, nor is it for everyone, but if you can stomach a hard look at what the young people in our culture are facing today, then absolutely see this beautiful effecting play."

sweet - Jennifer Chun


Avatar
"Start Swimming definitely leaves an imprint on your soul and makes your mind go places you have not gone before. Somehow what happens on stage allows you to feel and think emotions you are suppressing in every day life: anger, disappointment, desire to reach the highest heights, fighting for what is yours... What happens on stage is a pure and beautiful composition of abstraction. Therefore, you really have to listen carefully. Once you hear what the characters are saying, really hear them and understand the subtext they are trying to deliver - you will get it. You will have a part of your universe opening up and discovering thoughts you almost forgot you could have, opinions you thought are incorrect, you will become strong again and you would want to go and make change. May be not for the whole world, but at least for yourself. It is always important to start small, just with yourself, before you will be ready to save the world. Start Swimming is empowering and motivating, uncomfortable and challenging. Are you ready to challenge yourself while watching the theater? Then go see it."

sweet - Anastasia Perevozova


Avatar
"What is the right answer? In a Pavlov-ian exploration of the modern world, Start Swimming asks the question, “Why?” and then attempts to explore all of the answers. In a play that James Fritz (the author) describes as, “something that would articulate how our cast felt about growing up marginalised in a major city during a time of incredible political upheaval” (Introduction, Start Swimming) this is not a resolution to the revolution. It is reason behind it. It is the story of our own minds, our hearts, and how we got to where we are now. The director, Alexandra Fiallos, has taken the text of what could be an abstract exercise in repetition on paper and delivered context in a way that only theatre may provide. It is a theatrical experience tailor-made for the Millennial, and yet the ideas are older than we sometimes acknowledge. In the age of spin, we are gas lit into thinking that these revolutions, the ones that are enacted, instigated, and then summarily quashed onstage at The Broadwater Mainstage for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, will never work. Yet they do. They have. The questions and answers that Start Swimming provides are not new, but they are all that we have asked and answered so far in our lives. It is a precious moment to have them all lain out, and to know that there are still more, and that we are not done yet. Not by a long shot. See this play. Only then can you start asking the questions that matter."

sweet - David Graybill


Avatar
"I saw this production in February at LACC and was blown away. I had already seen a different production of Start Swimming which I thought was very good and the bar was set high. This production is out of this world. If you only see one play at Fringe it must be Start Swimming. You won’t regret it!"

sweet - Lise


Avatar
"Start Swimming is a brilliantly dark, metaphorical exploration of abusive power structures, how systematic rewards and punishments can be used to shape behavior and push us over the edge, and the ways that our society is already a dystopian nightmare. The total production is an amazingly strange and gritty synthesis of the director's strength and clarity of vision, the talent, and dedication of the actors, the focused aesthetic excellence of the set and costume design, and some jarring audiovisual effects, all combine to create an experience that is far more than the sum of its parts. I guarantee you've never seen anything like it."

sweet - John McDonough


Avatar
"Start Swimming is an interesting play that will make you think if you let it. The choreography is dynamic and really sells the danger of the play; there's never a dull moment on the stage. The actors all get the message of the play across very well, and their struggles throughout it are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes painfully or hilariously relatable. It's a great play that has memorable moments for nearly anyone who watches it."

sweet - Cyrus Palizban


Avatar
"I watched this production when it first went up in February and I don't think any description prepared me for what unfurled on the stage. A dystopian world unfolds itself in front of the audience's eyes and it is quickly understood in the dynamics between the actors and their set. This play almost mimics contemporary choral pieces, combining together rhythms that normally don't match but flow seamlessly somehow through its message. The message itself is up for the audience to interpret and ponder upon, definitely questioning authority but also questioning our willingness to stick to what's deemed correct or what we morally feel is right. The vocal quality says it all as each character, a different number, has it's own volume and pitch, personalizing an objectively nameless character into someone understandable. The cast works very well together in this ensemble piece, always on the balls of their feet, ready for what comes next. The costumes unify it with it's urgency, no notice to the rips and tears but a utilitarian sense in the belts and easily moveable clothing. The effects are particularly intriguing with it's seeming repetition but slight difference in every cue, making you delve into the message even further. And all of this is under the umbrella of the director who brings her flexibility, intelligence, and creativity to the stage with this bare bones script brought to a new dimension."

sweet - Rachel Frost


Avatar
"Start swimming is a beautiful, abstract, thought provoking, piece that highlights multiple facets of our broken society. Showing how, we as people go through our lives fighting for our survival, but the social, political, and economical constructs that we live with are engineered to work against us. After watching start swimming, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It empowered me, and inspired me, not only as a fellow artist, but as a human being. I am, and will continue to encourage people to come see this play, because it's not only a beautiful piece of art, but it is also a message that we need to hear right now."

sweet - Karole Bennett


Avatar
"Wow, you have to see this show. Start Swimming is SO powerful. It has had a lasting impact on me in the most incredible way. The director did a fantastic job; the actors and their performance caused not only an emotional reaction, but a physical one. Absolutely put this on your list."

sweet - Jillian Ross