Archikulture Digest

Number 5: Late April, 2000

As the big Harleys of Bike week roll into the sunset

(actually, they’re all trailered down – you can see them unload at Palm

Coast and Micanopy), the Big Guns of the Arts roll in – Lillian Hellman

and Wm. Shakespeare. All over town, you can hear the roar of Elizabethan

Iambic Pentameter – Vouch-SAFE-Vouch-SAFE-Vouch-SAFE-Vouch-Safe. Art

Festival and Yard Sales fill the air. Some day, it might even rain.

Comedy of Errors

Written by Wm. Shakespeare

Orlando Shakespeare Festival

starring Warren Kelly, Rik Walter, David Haugen and Eric Hissom

Poor Aegeon of Syracuse! Shipwrecked again, he washes up in Ephesus,

only to face a beheading because a.) he’s from Syracuse and b.) he can’t

pony up the 1000 smackers needed to buy back his freedom. It’s a gang

territory thing. The Ancients were just a bunch of gangsters, only with

really good taste in Architecture. “ Wait a minute, “ you say -“ I paid

for a comedy! What’s with a beheading in the first act?” Not to worry –

we’ve got pairs of identical twins, separated at birth, all who show up

in this astigmatic town, and nothing can go wrong, not in the long run.

With two identically dressed Antipholii (Kelly and Walter) wandering

about, each with identically dressed Dromio’s (Hissom and Haugen) in

service, we should be able to straighten things out in a scene or two.

No one can tell anyone apart in Ephesus, especially if they’re sort of

the same size and shape. I saw you 10 minutes ago and now you don’t

remember me? Happens all the time in this Bard’s universe. Off we go –

Antipholus The Local’s wife grabs Antipholus The Tourist for dinner.

Shut out of his own house, Antipholus T. Local takes his buddies to

dinner at the local house of negotiable love. Jewelry goes to the wrong

Antipholus. Money goes to the wrong servant. Beatings are applied to the

wrong miscreant. People are arrested, only to reappear before their

doppelgangers have quite cleared the stage. Want a logical plot? Go see

an opera.

However, if you are in the mood for Elizabethan farce, fart jokes, fat

chick jokes, and general fun mayhem, you can’t do better. An energetic

cast runs in and out of the Technicolor cartoon set, with Hissom and

Walter exchanging actual blows from time to time. Strong support from

the larger than ridiculous Balthazar (Devin McLean) , the proto-HMO Dr.

Pinch (Michael Dressler), and miniature Abbess (Holly Haire) carry the

action through the medieval puns you might not get. Even the Orlando

Fire Department keeps it’s sirens down for the show. Oh, yeah – Aegeon.

Don’t worry, one of the twins sort of recognizes him, or maybe both, but

they have the scratch to throw his bail. Hey, it’s a comedy, remember?

Toys in the Attic

Written by Lillian Hellmann

Directed by Lani Harris

Starring Nicole Porter, Michelle Foytek, William Bowser, Jr.</b>

Success isn’t really all that bad, once you get used to it. Julian

Berniers (Bowser) finally found some, while sisters Annie (Porter) &

Carrie (Foytek) devoted their lives to supporting him while keeping

their virginity in the icebox. He’s seen the world and hooked up with

ditzy wife Lily (Tracy Makens), only to turn up mysteriously with $150k

in hard cash. Poker? Jewel robbery? Nope, Real Estate – that’s where the

big boys make their real money in Nwalins. Gifts all around, pay off the

mortgage, and now Ann & Carry can take that long fantasized trip to

Europe. But without Julian’s dependence on them, the spinster sisters

loose their compass, each other, and Julian to boot. It’s jealousy, and

jealousy of the worst kind, between sister and brother.

With an ominous HGTV set, the sisters play out their drama in isolation

from one another. You can feel the sparks in the text, but the flush of

anger and hate as Annie admits her love was more than brotherly never

surfaces. The subtext of racism seems a distant memory to these players,

and revelations of mixed heritage doesn’t bring the sense of shame it

should for a story set in the deep south of 1949. The strongest

character shuffles around in the form of Gus (Mike Chappel), local

milkman. His shuck & jive intro and cell phone warning had wonderful

comic overtones, which find no home in tonight’s story.

Hellman’s tale of intercine power games rings true through the ages. The

need to dominate and condescend is stronger than blood, thicker than

water. People will sacrifice anything, even the object of their desire

to maintain that grip. Annie does so by bollixing Julian’s land deal.

Carrie takes that European vacation, leaving Annie on her own. Lily’s

mother is just hoping for the day Lily come crawling home. Better to

have your daughter under your thumb in the spare room than leaving her

to happiness with the man who loves her. Misery loves company, even if

it has to drag it in off the street.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Written by Wm. Shakespeare

Directed by Dennis Delaney

Starring Rik Walter, Eric Hissom, Richard Width, Jean Tafler, Steve

Lyons</b>

The Bookish King of Navarre (Walter) and his 3 close friends (Hissom,

Width, Lyons) swear an oath to spend the next 3 years in scholarly

pursuit, fasting, reading, and not speaking to any women. You can

imaging how long THAT lasts – about as long as it takes to hear the

Princess of France (Tafler) and her 3 hot ladies-in-waiting send a

little “yoo-hoo, boys”. Well, the king feels a bit guilty about giving

up an oath just sort of instantly, so little miss Your Highness has to

camp out in the backyard while the boys figure out what to do about this

intrusion. Four lusty young men? Four busty young girls? Hmmm – let me

see – mix up a few love letters? Try and act disinterested? Swap

identities? Dress up in a bear skin? All good ideas, and we’ll toss in

the slightly bizarre Spanish Knight Duke Armado (David Snizek). He’s of

a mind to join the university, majoring in milkmaids. The career

opportunity isn’t so great, but at least he gets a girl right away. The

Princess convinced the guilty King to hide in the woods for a year, just

in case she gets a better offer. Only a few minors are left in the

singles bar by curtain, and no one is beheaded.

Despite the stock plot, there’s plenty of room for innovation by the

players. Hissom’s semi-planned pratfalls and mooning love scene, Moth’s

(Holly Haire) overwrought aria, and Duke Armado’s duel to the underwear

stand forth. Plus, you’ll get a whole year’s worth of vouching safe and

swearing fore. Love overcomes good intention, and it’s a lot more fun.

Brian’s Bait Shack / Extreme Playwright’s Adventure

Performance Space Orlando</b>

Given 48 hours, could you come up with a whole new idea, an entertaining

idea, then explain it to half a dozen other people, and get it on stage?

Sure, you just THINK you can’t, but the PSO crew can. PSO gave a dozen

writers, directors, and actors that chance, and they performed. The

setting – a back woods bar, specializing in cold bait and live beer,

with a Not Quite Ready For Cheers cast that wanders in and out. Uneven,

but intriguing, the collection of 8 vignettes shows some promise and a

few dead ends.

Strongest in potential and weakest in execution is “Jesus gets Drunk”,

where Our Savior hangs out, drops lines, plans this weekend’s softball

game with Hell, and discusses God’s sexual proclivities. I always heard

He was incorporeal, and thus asexual, but you know how stories get

around.

Another promising segment, “Ashes”, delves into an alcoholic and abusive

family. Blame it all on Dead ‘ol Dad, and let his remains remain in his

favorite haunt. You can always replace those ashes if you get lonely.

More problematic was the well-acted opener “Right Bait”. Curt Nichols

and Beth Malloy presented a sexy pick up scene in a sleaze bar, but it

wasn’t clear how they were broken apart by the appearance of ‘Gator

Bait Nichol’s’ water ski client. Mystifying. More pickups of the second

kind followed immediately with the sad story of “Beer Bottle Glasses”,

with Mr. Know It All working towards getting lucky or getting beat to

pulp by the local rough trade. The end caught you off guard, but the

path to that end was a bit annoying.

All in all, the works presented were a good showing for a crew working

under pressure. It’s not polished, and it’s not improv, but some

promising twigs sprouted this evening.


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