Number 4: April, 2000
by Carl F. Gauze
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.
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.
Music by Cole Porter
Lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and others
Director Mark Brotherton
Starring Cami Yankwitt, Daniel Robbins, Gianfranco Ferri, Julie Ruth
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.
(aka “MacBeth in the Buff”)
Written & directed by Morris Sullivan
Starring Miss Rae, Miss Christy, and Miss Scarlet
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.
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.