Archikulture Digest

Number 4: April, 2000

Who says Seminole county doesn’t encourage art among

the artless? Rather than allowing the workingman to sit in a dark dingy

bar paying $5 for a pony beer and stuffing his hard-earned dollars into

some dancer’s undies, it tried to give him some honest to God Art. Did

people appreciate it? Of course not. This is central Florida, and now

the working man is prevented from sitting in a dingy performance space

paying $5 for a small Dinckle Acker and stuffing hard-earned dollars

into the non-existent undies of some Shakespearian actor. Some days, I

tell you, it’s not worth chewing through the leather restraining straps.

True West

written by Sam Shepard

Directed by Frank Hilgenberg

Starring John Didonna, James Zelly, Bill Welter and Geri Mansfield

Theater Downtown, Orlando</b>

You got your losers, and then you got your real losers. Austin (Didonna) is of the first sort, and Lee (Zelly) is more the second sort.

Milquetoast Lee is working on a screen play (who isn’t?) and has just

about hooked a producer (Welter). Mom (Mansfield) pops off to Alaska,

leaving Austin to sit house, mostly so drifter and small-time thief Lee

won’t cart off all the shiny stuff. More than just slightly psychotic,

Lee likes Mom’s sort of nice neighborhood, as there aren’t too many

barking dogs. With nothing much to occupy him until America goes to bed,

he’s “helping” Austin write, mostly by pacing around while drinking beer

and smoking and asking if he should leave. Lee horns into Austin’s

meeting and steals the producer, convincing him to ditch Austin’s play

for his own ill-formed tale of a chase through Tornado Country. Only

Austin has the typing skills to save the situation, but he’s just a bit

miffed at big bro’ and ain’t about to help, not even for the return of

his car keys.

Packed with the deep psychological meaning and intense angst ready to

rip away the surface veneer of polite society, “True West” contains the

heavy drama one associates with the just off Broadway stage. Lee and

Austin spend almost the entire play invading each other’s personal space,

and burst into sharply choreographed fights. DiDonna comes within in an

inch of clocking Zelly for real. I hope these guys are still talking

when this play is over.

Always the creepy scary intimidator, Lee morphs into the scared loser

Austin. Austin’s only real hope for success leaves with the producer, but he

recovers some feeling of power over Lee, whose only hope of proving he

is more than a bum involves conquering Austin’s job. Austin follows

Lee in fear, not knowing where the journey leads. Lee pushes on in fear,

not knowing where he is going, just what he’s running from. Neither is

happy with what life has dealt them, and each is insanely jealous of the

misery of the other. Yup, they’re really brothers.

Anything Goes

Music by Cole Porter

Lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and others

Director Mark Brotherton

Starring Cami Yankwitt, Daniel Robbins, Gianfranco Ferri, Julie Ruth

Theater UCF</b>

Let’s slip away on the SS America for a luxury Atlantic crossing. The

market’s tanked, celebs are nowhere in sight, but the martinis are dry,

songs never stop, and there’s plenty of ice. Our hero, Billy Crocker

(Daniel Robbins), serves as toady to Wall Street financier and amateur

alcoholic Eli Whitney. Whitney fires him every morning, just on account.

Billy stows away, hoping to woo his sweetie Hope Harcourt (Julie Ruth),

now foolishly engaged to Count Andrea Maria Della Rosa (Ferri). Helping

him hide is semi-ex-former-sometimes girlfriend and itinerant preacher

Reno Sweeney (Yankwitt). Short on luggage but long on creativity, he

disguises himself as a sailor, a Chinese convert, and then Public Enemy

1. This just get him a few frequent sailor miles until the

star-starved passengers demand a star, no matter how dim, and he’ll do.

Girls? Oh, yeah everyone gets one. They’re like party favors on this


Enough plot. The real star of this song & dance number are the tunes.

You’ve got your toe tapping show stopper “Anything Goes”, a couple of

hits you remember from auntie’s HiFi – “It’s Delovely”, “You’re the

Top” and “Let’s Misbehave”, and everyone’s favorite paean to Bolivian

Marching Powder “I Get A Kick Out Of You”. This classic contains that

great line “I get no kick from Cocaine”. Right, Porter. We’re with you

all the way. Pretty much everyone gets a turn singing to the oldies,

with Reno and Billy doing the heavy vocal lifting. Great supporting

characters include Captain Kareem Bandealy and the two non-oriental

converts, Luke and John (Robert Coll and Mike Saul.)

The cast remains in constant motion, up and down and back and forth on

the lovely Art Deco set. A sliding staircase allows multiple grand

exits, entrances, and arias. Luckily, no one gets crushed or steps where

the steps ain’t, because you’d hate to lose any of these characters. And

if you’ve missed this boffo show, don’t worry. I’ll call you in the

morning when you have a hangover, and tell you the rest.

Femmes Fatale

(aka “MacBeth in the Buff”)

Written & directed by Morris Sullivan

Starring Miss Rae, Miss Christy, and Miss Scarlet

Club Juana</b>

Is this a dagger I see in my hand? Oooh …no, I guess not. A certain

portion, a very large portion, of American society avoids the fine arts.

The city of Casselberry, Florida wants to fix this, and in a unique way.

The law forbids the simultaneous purchase of overpriced beer and nude

dancing. The dancers must wear at least thong and large bandages, like

those round ones you never no what to do with, on their naughty bits.

However, if the performance involves Fine Art, you can get overpriced

beer AND see total nudity. This distinction is quite fine, but oh so


A series of sketches, loosely based on important literary works, fills

the runway – er, stage. We hear of Marquis De Sade questionable sexual

morals, which leads to some light bondage and spanking. He was thrown in

prison, and not one of these nice modern ones for these ideas. Today he

would be a top ranked talk show host. After a bit of interpretive

dancing (Think Isadora Duncan with pierced genitalia), we see a very

clever piece on the pitfalls of sex via computer. While Miss Rae types

on a blow up computer, Misses Christy and Scarlet mime the action,

wearing nothing but black hoods and masks, aping the anonymity of the

modern electronic world. Guess what – not everyone is who they seem on


The evenings highlight staged the three weird sisters scene from the

classic Scottish play, Mac you-know-who. Arm in arm, our actresses

danced around a steaming caldron of CO2, wearing nothing but those

cheesy witches hats you get for your 8 year-old on Halloween. It looked

good, but Scotland is not the sort of place one wants to visit in the


Throbbing disco, icy cold AC, and about as many film crews as patrons

opened this show for an indefinite run at on of Central Florida’s

cultural and architectural landmarks. I think the thoughts and minds of

the regulars were uplifted. I know mine was.

Not The Worst of Discount Comedy Outlet

Starring Brian Bradley, Peter Hurtgen, Audrey Kearns and Anita Pritchard

Zoe & Company, Maitland Fla.</b>

Let’s flip through the re-runs channels and see what’s on tonight – Oh

look! The DCO’s Greatest Hits Package is available from K-Tel, and it’s

packed with goodies! There’s the hilarious Recruitment Center Sketch,

with Brian convincing Peter to sign up for Homo training. Sure, it’s

expensive being gay, but look at the fab digs you get, plus there is

financial aid available, not to mention the work study program. It’s not

just an adventure, it’s a lifestyle.

Then there’s the Blood Cult of Absolute Perfection, with pledge Brian

about to get his noggin lopped, until Oh So Miss Perfect Audrey makes

her own boo-boo. Perfect. Yeah, right. And let’s not forget some expert

marriage counseling as Mr. & Mrs. Nostradamus work through some

problems, like his insistence on being correct EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Wives absolutely hate this. Ask mine. It’s the trouble if you marry a


Marriage isn’t a problem for the two always popular, always smoking Long

Island Goils. They’ve come out to the cow pasture with hopes of seeing

the Blessed Virgin and some men with tight abs and butts. They’ve

brought that special drink – every thing in the back of the liquor

cabinet, all mixed together. Pretty tasty, and when BVM finally does

show, she pointedly mentions that both Sandy and Marie are skanks, and

would they please not wear the vinyl pants?

Wrapping up this package of Guffawing To The Oldies brings us to the

Trek-con-fab-o-rama, with guys geekier than ever was, arguing about the

Stardate in episode 27 and doing better than life Shatners. Can

Trekkies get sex? Would they know what to do with it if they had it?

Could they trade it for a dilithium crystal upgrade?

The people spoke, DCO did a little creative recycling, and some of us

picked up on a few sketches we missed first time around. Cheap? Heck,

yeah, even for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. Phone now.

Ripped Pages – The Diary of Jack The Ripper

Written &directed by Roger Floyd

at Performance Space Orlando</b>

“Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord, but sometimes we borrow it for a

while down here. Jim Maybrick wants some, as his indiscreet wife wanders

off to spread her legs for another. Alone and frustrated, he finds a

thrill better than getting off by himself – offing others who get in his

way. Five whores bite the dust, with a pair lying there on stage for

all. Dead? Sure. In hell? Yes, but not that much worse than the one they

left. Maybrick’s madness rises to bloodlust that comes from

sublimating the lusting thrust into the sharp steel thrust. Confession

might be good for his soul, but nowhere near the fun of the bloody act.

Two corpses rise wraith-like to join the debate over the existence

of A Loving God and Protecting Angels while Jim cum Jack T. Ripper

taunts the police with bad poetry and blames death on everyone but

himself. The girls have a poor sense of direction, or his wife forced

him, and God didn’t say “No” when he asked, it might rain, and anyway

he enjoys it, so bugger off. It’s oh-so nineties.

Hard work under difficult conditions is paid off as a portrait of

incipient madness eats the soul while death slithers across the stage.

Our two semi-dead supporting actresses range from eternal stillness to

self-damnation and orgy and back to the soothing numb of darkness. Jack

rants, rages, pounds his knuckles bloody, and smashes up the set. It’s

stream of conscious, and its a dark, scary stream you don’t want to

slip into. Strong language and strong imagery compete as manhood wilts

into nothingness. The real question here is not “How can God let this

horror happen?” but “What prevents more horror without God?”

House of Pomegranates

Written by Oscar Wilde

Produced by Joe DiDonna

A reading by The Central Florida Theater Alliance

Theater Garage, Orlando</b>

Once upon a time, children heard stories with long words, complex

actions, and simple morals. Today, children hear simple stories, 137

scientifically selected words, and ambiguous morals. Even the people

reading this antiquity of Oscar Wilde’s can’t pronounce some of these

words in “House of Pomegranates”, a collection of Children’s stories

from the Victorian age. Two of these stories appeared in tonight’s

dramatic reading, “The Young King” and “The Fisherman’s soul.”

Young King grows up rude, raised by peasants after his mother loved

well, but not wisely. Near death, the Old King retrieves the boy,

acknowledges him as heir, and impresses him with the jewels and flummery

of rank. Obsessed with peacock finery, a series of Dickensian dreams

haunt the boy the night before his coronation. In his dreams, Young

King observes the misery of those slaving to produce the jewels and

baubles. Upon awakening, he rejects these tokens of rank, only to be

rejected in turn by his people. “Are not the luxuries of the wealthy

food for the poor?” Perhaps. But nonetheless, Young King holds to his

ideals, and takes the throne. Strong words from such a natty dresser.

The Fisherman falls in love, captivated by a mermaid. To win her he must

loses his soul, as the merfolk have no souls, nor may they consort with

those that do. How to lose one’s soul? So easy today, so hard in the

tale. Abhorred by the priest, and rejected by the merchants, a young and

beautiful witch tells him the secret of soul divorce. Sent on its own

with no heart, the world corrupts poor Soul. After many years and many

adventures, the soul connives back into it’s corpus, and Fisherman must

lose his love. What good is this soul? You can’t see it, you don’t know

it, and it is nothing to you. Only love is real.

So goes the tales.

Sex Education in the Year 2000

Performance Space Orlando</b>

Sex, sex, sex. Is that all people think about these days? Well, yes.

That, and can I get in on this weeks hot IPO. But mostly sex. The PSO

People Democratic Repertory Commune works through a dozen or so sketches

on man’s (and woman’s) favorite past time, some old, some new, and some

greatly improved. Highlight of the evening – the Great Debate, with Dawn

Stahlak and Dave Mackey thrashing through the do’s and donts and wills

and wonts of oral sex. Not getting enough? Maybe you’re not giving

enough. It’s a karma thing.

Blake Garden’s “Mental Masturbation” starts slowly, with a nervous audience

answering direct questions about their relation to Rosy Palm and her

sisters, but build up to a climatic revelation of the sick and

disgusting habit of reading – back and forth, back and forth, down,

down, down a line, oh god, I need another page.. Excuse me. Carried away.

Sorry. Where were we? Oh yes. “The Maurice Popular Show.” Tabloid TV,

and both Nicki and Tasha are ready to leave their otherwise loving men

to take up with “Blake” and “Gianni,” the sort of lovers who never fart

in bed and don’t get up to check out “Sports Center Tonight.” Plus,

“Blake” glows in the dark. Bet you can’t do that.

“Perfect Days” bring out David and Dawn again, each going over their

idea of how they plan to spend eternity. Cuddles, or 4 under par on the

front 9 at Augusta? Shopping with friends, or wild sex with 2 nympho

teenagers? A lavender bubble bath, or a bit of deep sea fishing on

Bimini? You decide. Either way, wrap up the evening with an

“Orchestrated Orgasm,”, as improv attempts to conquer bad sex, with the

cast and audience trying to fake each other’s orgasm. You got any

Kleenex? I thought not.

The Fantasticks

Written by Tome Jones (yes, that one)

Music by Harvey Schmidt

Starring Tracy White, Michael Horn, and Rick Laney

Moonlight Players, Clermont</b>

In the cartoon world of 40 years ago, a Matt (Horn) and a Luisa (White)

fall hopelessly in love. Mom and Dad built a wall, bringing them

together by saying “No, you can’t see that person.” Now, how to get

them married without revealing the setup? Why, let’s stage a kidnapping

  • that’s always fun! EmmCee and wandering vagabond El Gallo (Laney) does

the deed with two sidekicks, Henry (Norm Posner) and Mortimer (Greg

Powers), in a pretty cool strobe light sword fight. Happy ending? Not so

fast – there’s five more songs and a reprise. Matt heads off to find

adventure and a black eye, and Luisa falls for El Gallo, who sings a

ballad with her while standing atop a stage ladder. They do that in this

sort of show, but it brings Matt back, El Gallo is 86’d , and NOW we

have a happy ending. Okie Dokie.

In front of the enthusiastic crowd, Horn and White stand out. Horn has a

beautiful and accurate voice, and with a little more vocal power he will

travel far. White’s voice is a bit more problematic, but her dancing and

sheer stage presence show great promise as well. Laney’s singing ran the

gamut, with a weak opening “Try to Remember,” but a brilliant duet

with Matt “I Can See It.” Mortimer and Henry provided a strong center,

with their overwrought death scenes and butchered Shakespearean quotes.

“Fanatasticks” came together from the devoted efforts of enthusiasts,

working with the material and resources at hand. Minimal sets had unused

actors facing the back wall until needed, and the effect is a musical

puppet show, with the waiflike Mute (Jennifer Bushwitz) directing the

action from the sideline and sprinkling just the right sort of confetti

at just the right time.

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