By Britton Buttrill; Directed by Miles Mandwelle
Produced by The Skeleton Rep
Part of the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival

Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 8.26.16
VENUE #13: Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street


by Angel Lam on 8.18.16


Karsten Otto, Alexandria Collins, and Andi Morrow in Scratching. 

BOTTOM LINE: A dark play about four lives intertwined with drugs, illegal tattoos, violence, and unrequited love in a blue-collar town in the deep South.

Brianna (Andi Morrow) and Christian (Karsten Otto) have left New York City to try to start a new life in the south after Christian has been blacklisted from licensed tattoo parlors in New York City due to drug use. Brianna is reduced to stripping for a living for a chance for a new life with her boyfriend, and Christian is trying to make ends meet by giving illegal tattoos in their run-down trailer. The unexpected appearance of Tracy (Alexandria Collins), Christian's ex-girlfriend, wearing a ring on her finger yet trying to win Christian back, starts to stir things up. But when Tracy meets Adrian (Tyler Gardella), Christian's estranged brother, and Brianna returns to Christian (her drug supplier as well as boyfriend), things unfold in a downward spiral.

The play is a dark piece with moments of compassion that seem unexpected for these characters. Furthermore, although the tension builds throughout, it perhaps doesn't escalate enough to create real intrigue and excitement. The characters are also somewhat superficially written, and while the actors do their best to embody three-dimensional people, the plot needs something more to transport us inside the world of these desperate lives. Direction by Miles Mandwelle, intertwining the interactions between the pairs of lovers, is smoothly done. If you are interested in tattoos, drugs, and violence, this play might appeal to you.

(Scratching plays at VENUE #13: Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, through August 26, 2016. The running time is 1 hour 20 minutes. Performances are Sat 8/13 at 7:15; Tue 8/16 at 4:30; Fri 8/19 at 2:15; Sun 8/21 at 9:45; and Fri 8/26 at 2:15. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at For more information visit


Scratching is by Britton Buttrill. Directed by Miles Mandwelle. Music is by John Fritz.

The cast is Alexandria Collins, Tyler Gardella, Andi Morrow, and Karsten Otto.