Press from 2003 Seattle Fringe Festival Production

Below are all of the articles still available. There were many online reviews submitted to the Seattle Fringe Festival website, but those disappeared into the ether. Highlights from what’s still around include that the play “inspired enthusiasm on the street,” Mary Jane being labeled “One to Watch” by Seattle Time’s theatre critic Misha Berson, and the fringe rag review “…pulls you in and entertains from the very beginning with both the subtle and the overt…”.

Read all the 2003 press after the jump:

The Stranger (link)
From the Sep 11 – Sep 17, 2003 issue
Bret Fetzer interview with Mary Jane Gibson:
“…a weird love story, and maybe a look at the future, but it’s mainly a black comedy. And we’re really close to the beer garden…”

The Stranger (link)
From the Sep 25 – Oct 1, 2003 issue
“…and Throwing Bones’ Anaphylaxis are plays that have actually inspired enthusiasm on the street…”

The Stranger (link)
From the Oct 9 – Oct 15, 2003 issue
Fringe Festival Picks Plays” (announcement of the awarding of ‘Artistic Pick’)

Seattle Times (link)
October 1, 2003
announcement of artistic picks

Seattle Post-Intelligencer (link)
October 1, 2003
announcement of artistic picks

Seattle Times (link)
September, 2003
“One to Watch” (article about Mary Jane Gibson by Misha Berson)
If you want to take in the acting prowess of Mary Jane Gibson on a local stage, you’d better jump to it. Last spring, the 28-year-old actress caused a stir with her haunting portrayal of a Victorian-era writer on the verge of a breakdown in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ at Theater Schmeater. She’s also won kudos for her forceful turn as a woman dosed with LSD and shock treatment in ‘The Burning Cage,’ a play Gibson co-wrote with Nicole DuFresne.

Before heading off to New York in October to try her luck there, Gibson will tackle another juicy part: that of the put-upon Isabella in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s ‘Measure for Measure.’ And this committed thespian will also turn up on Capitol Hill soon, in the Seattle Fringe Festival show ‘Anaphylaxis’.

Seattle Fringe Review Rag (link at
2003/09/22 15:26:28
Review Rag Writer: E. A. Farnham
It’s a sterile world, but “Anaphylaxis” is full of life creeping in from the edges. What appears to be a controlled environment full of repetitions and scientific detachment is instead a playground for a heartening lesson…that life surprises you. Frank (Scott Nath) is a scientist dealing in a world where extensive Genetic Modification has allowed allergies to run rampant. Ana (Mary Jane Gibson) is his subject. Things go wrong, terribly wrong and beautifully right at the same time. Both characters are given potent senses of humanity by Nath and Gibson, and the staging and sound create a complete balance to pull the audience into the scene. Well directed by Sheila Daniels, “Anaphylaxis” is storytelling that pulls you in and entertains from the very beginning with both the subtle and the overt. It’s an unsettling reminder of the potential future of scientific “achievement” and the hope that the genuine routines of life will overcome.

Joe Boling Review
Saturday, September 20, 2003
This performance got one of my very rare standing ovations. The story is somewhat derivative, though playwright Mary Jane Gibson says she is unaware of the earlier work I asked her about. Sheila Daniels directed. Scott Nath and Gibson are the players.

Ana is confined to an isolation ward; she is very unresponsive and has to be guided in every action. Frank, her doctor, comes in frequently to medicate and check up on her. As the pre-play action progresses, Ana gradually becomes more alert, more able to anticipate what will occur next, and eventually (as the pre-play merges into the real action) she begins to talk. She is being treated for severe allergies; once or twice she has been in anaphylactic shock and has had to be saved with emergency injections. Her memories are confused (her dreams are shown on a large video screen upstage).

It soon becomes clear that she is an experimental subject, and that her memories are being manipulated by Frank. It also becomes clear that Frank is not maintaining an arms-length involvement with his patient.

As the treatment progresses, Ana becomes more and more conscious that there is some sort of defect in her memories (things she knew yesterday don’t fit with what she knows today, and there is a hole in her life that she can’t fill). She becomes more insistent that Frank tell her what is going on, and assist her in recovering her mental health along with her physical health. Meanwhile, Frank is getting frantic, because he has lost control of her mental programming, parallel experiments are going badly in other labs, and he fears that he will lose Ana15 as well.

Both the writing and the acting in this are superb, and the staging is worthy of a studio film. This is way beyond your average Fringe fare, but right in line with Gibson’s Fringe entry in 2002, which was my pick for best of the fest last year. Don’t miss this one.


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