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None Too Fragile’s dark comedy “An Impending Rupture of the Belly” explodes

Everywhere you look we seem to be a world in turmoil. Like a lab experiment gone wrong where too many mice (although all are well fed) are put into too close an environment they begin turning on each other. Suddenly, it’s family against family, friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor and even stranger against stranger.

Every day we see headlines where a simple fender bender escalates into a brawl or worse, a family argument erupts into bloodshed or a disgruntled fired employee returns to his former place of employment to seek vengeance. Where and when will it all end? This is the core theme of Matt Pelfrey’s black comedy An Impending Rupture of the Belly playing through this weekend (July 7, 8 and 9, 2017).

Clay (Andrew Narten) is dead center of middle age and expecting his first child with his wife Terri (Kelly Strand) who works hard to keep him in his place. At work he is constantly being brow beaten by his supervisor, Eugene (Mark Rabant) for being too timid. His younger brother, Ray(Benjamin Gregorio) is a failed “rock musician” who lives from one bad experience after another chalking it all up to “the rock and roll freedom lifestyle” that counters Clay’s straight 9-5 existence.

Enter Clay’s gay neighbor, Doug (Brian Jackson) who allows his dog, Biscuit to run unleashed throughout the neighborhood. Biscuit has taken a liking to Clay’s immaculate lawn, using it as his private restroom every day.

A simple confrontation and discussion with Doug fails to solve the trespassing problem and something in Clay snaps causing him to go after the dog with a nine iron. Doug informs the couple that the dog has died of his wounds and furthermore it was a pet of his dead sister-in-law whose husband is being released from prison in two weeks and who will seek vengeance.

Paranoia escalates as Clay tries to take steps to ward off attacks (both real and imagined) even inviting his army trained druggy brother to stay with them and act as a security detail. Fueled by drugs and alcohol, Clay goes even further off the deep end in his pursuit of promised security by taking the law into his own hands.

Although timely in regards to the current political situation, the show is filled with a lot of language, drug use, alcohol use and bad behavior (including urinating on stage).

This snapshot of modern social conflict could be taken from the front page of any large metropolitan newspaper in America. All too often, the thin veneer of civility is being burnished off exposing the rotten core of base wood that lies beneath the false surface. While filled with comic moments we are forced to think as we laugh and see ourselves in the roles of aggressor and victim.

An Impending Rupture of the Belly will be on stage through July 8, 2017 with special “Sea’s Night” productions on July 7 and 8 for patrons, family and caregivers of special needs people including Rett Syndrome. All profits will benefit the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. Show times for these performances are Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 8 at 4 and 8 p.m.

Performances take place at None Too Fragile Theater located in the back of Briccos Pub and Restaurant located at 2835 Merriman Road in Akron, Ohio. Tickets may be purchased by calling (330) 962-5547 or online at

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.  

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