“Chalk,” a 40-minute comedy in which silent comic Alex Curtis creates an entire world for the audience using little more than a piece of chalk, is exactly the sort of show I always hope for at the Fringe Festival — inventive, entertaining, and short.
After arriving on the stage at the Kraine Theater, in the hat, vest, tie and innocent look of a silent film era hobo, he smokes a cigarette, which turns out to be a piece of chalk, which he uses to draw a picture of a haze of smoke on the back wall, which makes him cough, which inspires him to start erasing the chalked picture of the smoke with a wet rag, which makes it look like a storm cloud, which causes thunder and lightning, rain and wind….and we see him fighting his way through the wind, casting off an imaginary chicken that the wind has swept into his face….until he draws a shelter for himself. And that’s just in the first ten minutes. There is much business with his hat, his coat and his coatrack, but the show is at its most original when, using chalk, aided by well-timed sound effects and lighting, and a score that ranges from silent film comic noodling to Ellington instrumental jazz — he creates a radio, a pet dog, and a love affair, which is bitter-sweet because it ends quickly — an entire world.
Remaining showtimes at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street)
2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 12
12:00 p.m. Sunday, October13
12:00 p.m. Sunday, October 20
7:00 p.m. Friday, October 25
2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 26
12:00 p.m. Sunday, October 27
“Chalk” is one of the 40 MainStage shows of the reimagined 2019 New York International Fringe Festival