Archikulture Digest

Number 6: Fringe 2000

Art! Art! We’re done with art! The purple-hair set

blows in like the smoke from Lake County, and it’s out with High Class,

in with High Concept. The Bohos of Fringe Fest have driven out the

Hobos of downtown, and now it’s even safe to walk on West Church Street

after midnight. Just don’t push it.

Inspector Jipp and the Club of Castrated Men

By Byron Orlock

Shangrlia Theater

Orlando Fringe Festival

Pink Venue</b>

Natlick, Mesopotamian God of severed male members, demands nightly blood

sacrifice. Inspector Jipp, Scotland Yard’s worst detective, struggles

with the concept of Sherlock Holmes as a fictional character and Junior

Jumble. Worst of all, another idiot theater critic wanders into the set

and gets his foot whacked off. They were aiming higher and a bit to the

left but missed. Plus, it was a wee willy and a battle axe is so

inaccurate. Now Jipp and his assistant must trundle off to club Juana

and seek out the mistress of this foul deed. They find her all right,

and after a few dollars enter someone’s undies, there’s the sort of

dance that Cassleberry won’t allow. This IS the big city of Orlando, and

you know how riotous things get on a Saturday afternoon down there in Sin

City. Jokes are fast and silly, the nudity is somehow strangely

unfulfilling, but there’s no heavy going and every one (except the

critic) gets a happy ending. They don’t get sex, but they do get a happy

ending.

Hamlet Desires Medea

By Tom Stoppard, Christopher Durang, Wendy Wasserstein

Art’s Sake Studio

Orlando -Fringe Festival – Blue Venue</b>

Shakespear and Dickens share a similar flaw – they got paid by the word.

Hamlet is full of pithy sayings and incest, but there’s a bunch of

clutter as well. Well, out with the junk mail and AOL disks, let’s just

keep the checks and love letters! Art’s Sake takes three short and

irreverent plays and gets the audience through a good 2/3rds of a

liberal arts education in a single hour. A fifteen-minute Hamlet is

about right, even with a 5 minute encore. Every dog has method in it’s

madness, alas poor Yorick, I last saw him in apartment 2B, next play

please.

People paid for an hour, and a hour they shall get. The next segment

wraps all that sweaty, sexy abusive southern lust as Blanche and Stella

battle over that Kolowski lout, cooling off with a luke warm Budwieser

every now and again. There’s nothing like a good catfight between women

in slips. Now THAT’S great theater!

We’re still a bit short on the clock, so let’s toss in a little Greek

tragedy. Some one took the effort to update (and shorten) that chestnut

“The Trojan Women” by Euripides. You remember Euripides – he’s the guy

in the joke about the tailor and the suit. We get the chorus, we get the

disembowelment, and best of all, Deus Ex Machina drops by for a cup of

coffee. This is theater for the art burn out.

Thanks for the Mammaries

S.I.N.B.A.D. Theater Company

Orlando Fringe Festival

Pink Venue</b>

Just because you have low self-esteem doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Andrea (the zaftig one) and childhood friend Rachel (the ectomorph) bump

into each other after Andrea dumps her two timing husband. Andrea could

never get up the courage to pick up a guy, and Rachel couldn’t get up

the courage to say no. Dialog and duet combine with poetry and pathos in

a small glimpse into the lives of two lost souls. It’s pleasant enough

entertainment if the story isn’t too close to your own life. As the duo

wraps up, reflect that neither ended up with a rug rat, alcohol drowns

the pain, and Mr. Right is out there somewhere. It’s frog kissing time,

ladies. Pucker up.

Uncertain Curtain

Sak Ensemble

Orlando Fringe Festival

Red Venue</b>

It’s improv, you must understand, so don’t expect anything I say here

to apply to the show you visit. We need a career, a hobby, a city, whoa

  • another career, no rejection in this set, and off we go on a musical

journey that no one planned out before the lights went up. Tonight two

New York tough guys battle over a girl and whether it’s manly to rescue

homeless cats. It’s not, but the guy playing the cat is cute, even if

he coughs up a few hair balls and scratches the stuffing out of the

seats in the front row. Improv is a challenge, and adding a strict

requirement to match melody and rhyme makes it just a bit harder. This

troupe of Sak veterans handles the job handily with only one or two flat

spots. Wait till you see the one about the Chiropractor and the

Paleontologist…

Bills Family Fun Time

By Bill Larkin

Orlando Fringe Festival

Red Venue</b>

We all keep dirty little secrets in our sock drawer. It’s our Mom. No

-wait – it’s Dad. Or that Aunt Peg and her mustache? Incomprehensible

Gramps? Incoherent Grammy? Our evil twin? Oh no, it’s US! Bill Larkin, a

musician with some scary skills, bops out a big Broadway soundtrack for

the people we love to hate but have to love, our kith and kin. Whether

it’s a paean to the hurried demise of that unwanted twin brother, or

Grandma telling us completely fabricated stories about the Venezuelan

national anthem and the depth of the snow in 1847, Bill whips up the

funniest show in fringe.

Larkin is the sort of piano player that the word “styling” so often

becomes attached to. He’s so much better than that, and there isn’t a

Holiday Inn lounge that would put up with his misanthropic views of

blood relations. We get a short slide show of Bill growing up with dear

Poppa, sort of like that sappy Harry Chapin tune. You know, “Cat’s in

the Blender”. We find out Bill’s true feelings for his “womb mate”, a

not suitable for Hallmark sentiment. Best of all, Bill can rap about his

dog like the best of the white bread homeys. After the show, we all

voted. Bill is funny, 85 to 16. A landslide.

The Game’s Afoot

By Al Arasim and the Baker Street Players

Orlando Fringe Festival

Blue Venue</b>

Seeing something is not the same as observing it. How many stairs to

your apartment? What color is the dirt in your yard? How many types of

cigarette ash may be distinguished? Sherlock Holmes knows, with the

compulsive eye for detail and the hyperactive brain to make something

out of all these apparently unrelated factoids. He splits the rent with

phlegmatic Dr. Watson, a true friend and stout companion in the trenches

of cleaning up after Scotland yard.

With emphasize on origin and relation, Game’s Afoot is not so much

mystery solved, but characters defined. We learn of Dr. Watson’s service

in the Afghani wars, Holmes’ wanderlust parents, and a struggle to

overcome addiction to opiates and nicotine. We hold these two as icons

of the detection trade, but what do we really know of them? Game’s Afoot

is that critical background biography that unveils and motivates the

strongest fictional characters in English literature.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

By Martin McDonagh

Directed by Kristian Truelsen

Starring Christine Decker, Ann Hering, Jim Howard, Bill Mitchell

Orlando Theater Project / SCC</b>

Some people are born to poverty and isolation, some people fall into

poverty and isolation, and some people have it thrust upon them. Middle-aged Maureen (Hering) finds herself trapped in a mutually abusive

relationship with her mother Mag (Decker) and a sadly beautiful West Irish

countryside. Mother made sure she never had a man, but now the glimmer

of a chance arrives as Pato Dooley (Howard) picks her up at a local

party. He may not be the lover of her dreams, but options are limited,

and he is a nice enough guy. He heads back to London, with work and

insults aplenty, but eventually arranges a chance to go to Boston. He

asks Maureen to go with him, and despite mum’s best efforts to kill the

affair, Maureen almost escapes.

Action revolves around a claustrophobic set, with the two women glued

together by a lack of money and alternatives. Dialogue, faithfully

rendered with a thick west country accent, is a challenge for actor and

audience alike. A helpful glossary included in the program translates

“Complan” and “Ceilidh” from Anglo-Gaelic into American. With isolation

as intense as these folks experience, any meeting comes out more intense

than we are used to. Maureen’s dreams of escape dash in the last scene,

with no clear reason given for the crash and burn. This is the only flaw

in an otherwise humorous and touching story.

Miss Bird is Singing

Becky Fisher & Joe Swanberg

Orlando Fringe Festival

Red Venue</b>

Hit after Hit after Hit! There are tons of good songs out there, sort of

wafting around the collective musical unconscience, but no good place

to sing them. Tonight’s show plucks a dozen from that sea of

intellectual property, with bubbly Becky Fischer belting them out. Rich

Charron backs her on that honky tonky sounding piano that keeps SAK

singing, and hubby Joe Swanberg MC’s. There’s some Cole Porter, a bit of

Bonnie Raitt, even some Sting. Fischer seems made for the Broadway and

Amelia Avenue stage, with perky musicality and a mastery of those flirty

hand gestures that you associate with the 50’s movie bombshells. It’s sort of

hokey and sort of sexy, all at the same time.

Pinnacle of the show is the title number, Miss Bird Sings. There’s a

secret sex life of the bland and boring, and even if you wouldn’t give

Miss B a second look at her dreary desk, she’s singing inside. Now, if

you’re a bit more of an exhibitionist, don’t miss Everybody’s Girl. She

may not be nude, but that’s not necessary with that short blue nightie,

boa, and Cookie Monster G-string.

With only one principle and a different dress for almost every song,

there are more breaks in the action that one would hope for, but

Swanburg finds enough oddments to occupy the audience without lapsing

into the Eric Idle smarmyness lurking around the corner. It’s crisp,

it’s clean, it’s an older music that is about to be rediscovered by the

new Bohos. Kiss kiss and nighty night!

Life After Elvis

By Jason Milligan

Orlando Fringe Festival

Pink Venue</b>

America has a lot going for it. For example, when you do your taxes,

right down at the bottom where you sign they ask your profession. If you

say “Elvis Impersonator”, no on will blink an eye or haul you off for

inappropriate humor. Whatever Elvis’s tax status, we know his spirit

drives America’s low class demimonde. Some think he’s in the witness

protection program, not really any more ridiculous than anything else

you see in the checkout line. A tad short on scratch, Mom and Dad let

out Junior’s room whiles he’s off at that expensive college place. Elvis

agreed to help with the chores, but spends more time on dial-a-porn and

impersonating himself. Dad’s a bit fed up, but Mom gets into the swing

of this Hunka Hunka Mouldering Love. Will Dad find out? Will you see as

much of Mom as you ought to? Will Junior retrieve his letter jacket? Can

that nervous twitch in the King’s left leg ever be cured?

Silly and fun, Life After Elvis supplies a needed bit of silliness with

a solid cast. This Elvis (#38,675 on his union card) mumbles competent

covers and wears his satin jumpsuit with pride. Dad’s a bit over the

top, and even if you don’t cotton to pop stars of the Eisenhower era,

Mom puts on the best show of all. Don’t be cruel – drop by and set a

spell.

DCO Sells Out

Discount Comedy Outlet

Orlando Fringe Festival

Red Venue</b>

For those of you who have short attention spans, we are about to rock

you! The intrepid DCO troupe wanders on stage, lost in the woods while

seeking the elusive Bigfoot, and stops for a long-needed break. Four, five,

maybe as long as 7 minutes have passed since they last caught their

breath. They take this opportunity for a word from their personal

sponsors – fat pills, Alcoholic non-dairy product, and maybe a

personalized manatee slicer. DCO – why, have they sold out? Abandoned

biting social satire for vast fortunes in product endorsement ads? Well,

they still do all the bisexual penis jokes, so they might not even be

allowed on UPN. And hey, even I keep hoping someone will make me a

percentage offer. These guys get one from Satan himself. Will Lucifer

deliver? Or just leave them in standup hell at a club in Tampa?

There are strengths and weaknesses here, with the shorter bits the

strongest. Martha Stewart passes on advice on wreath-making and

synthesizing Whack from common household chemicals. Wrestlers threaten

to tease each others’ hair. Personal cannibal trophies. All good stuff.

The longer sketches wander a bit, with the Welcome Wagon visiting Cap’n

Ahab rambling through some bizarre territory with no clear end in sight,

even when the end finally arrives. A TV (that’s television in this case)

Political Fashion panel matching Mayor Normal against the CHUD, er,

“Sewer Dwelling Americans” in a political debate was a little more

focused, with some nice brick to the head and incumbent gut munching.

In the end, Satan comes to collect his crew, shuffling them off to the

bus bound for Tampa. Due to some fine print on the Fringe button the

audience had to go along. At least there’s company.

Circus Peep Show Rejects

Poisoned Pixie Cup Productions

Orlando Fringe Festival

Pink Venue</b>

If there are a million stories in the naked Big Top, most of them have

landed here in a jumble. Two young ladies present a tangled story of

adultery and abandonment, career advancement and fine cuisine, and a

dozen other subplots with minimum props, costumes, and people. All of

today’s characters are played by 2 actresses, with different

personalities evoked with a mere change in dialect. The ring mistress

asks an aspiring one-eyed tightrope walker and caricaturist to paint a

picture of her boy friend for his birthday, while an abandoned child

seeks her mother, the fried-dough guy changes girl friends, and a few

other characters wander though the stage space.

With little to clue the audience in as to who is who at any given time, the

multiple vignettes quickly muddy to a confused set of funny voices. I

lost track of who was who within 10 minutes, and there were never enough

clues to reset my character counter. Near the end, our two intrepid but

overextended actresses tried to keep perhaps four characters onstage

simultaneously, with disastrous effect. Two people can make stage magic,

and two people can make several characters, but without more substantive

hooks for the audience to grab, all that results is theatrical chaos. A

program would have helped, but fewer characters and threads would have

been even clearer.

Loud
Book & Lyric by Todd Kimbro

Orlando Fringe Festival

Orange Venue</b>

Let’s see – triangle, quadrilateral, pentagram – this is a love

pentagram. Mother Linda (Julia Granacki) loves Father Payne (Ed

Campbell), even though they only schtupp three times a year. They loved

each other once, anyway, with Parker (Kimbro) as living proof. Parker’s

at the awkward age when hormones rage against his machine and no one

inquired if he would prefer birth. Debby briefly falls for Parker,

taking pity on him in the liquor store parking lot and buying him a

twelver of succulent Bud Lite. No car, no ID, hey maybe he’]s JB! Can’t

mess with that, safely. Dump him and let’s check the ‘net for a real

man. Dad’s got an eye for Ray (Jeff Forte) at the factory, but Ray’s not

that type. He’d rather woo Debby electronically, even though they live

next door. Resolution? Let’s blow the whole thing sky high!

Kimbro’s modern operetta holds a clever and tight plot, yet suffers from

weak singing and possibly bad acoustics. Aside from Linda’s touching

“Third Person”, many of the songs sound muddy. The problem grows as the

number of singers increases. An excellent synopsis keeps you current,

and Kimbro’s electronica soundtrack compliments the action, but isn’t

really hummable. There’s promise in these chords, and a cleaner vocal

arrangement could send this show on its way.

A Time To Go Walking

Written by Peter McGarry

Eyewitness Theater Company (Ireland)

Orlando Fringe Festival</b>

Old Celts don’t die. They walk away, to the West, never to return. And

they don’t pack an overnight kit. They give away their worldly

possessions, strip to the buff, and hike it. Some would call it destiny.

Today, we call it abandonment. Dicky Mick Dicky feels the call, even at

a hale three-score and two. Always the dreamer, he puts off fixing the

roof and digging the spuds to consult the ancient Gods. Loyal wife

Katie walks the five miles into town, cleaning the hotel for pin money,

but Dicky plans to put a motor on her bike so she can ride. Soon. With

30 years under the belt, lust sublimates to nagging, love to habit,

jealousy to comedy. Nail clippings, failed business plans, snoring, and

what the hell are we still doing together? Well, outside of the sad fact

there are few other options, two are better than one for mending socks

and fixing light bulbs and staying warm against the cold storm winds.

Dicky looks that long cold walk square in the eye, and finds a

reasonable excuse to stay home tonight. It’s Katie who departs first,

with a cough that not even the ancient Celtic herb can cure. Dicky

misses her, misses her as only tempered true love can miss. Avoiding

that long walk, he receives a final visit by Kate. No data on the afterlife passes her lips, except to say, “The world needs dreamers. Take that

walk, Dicky. Go now.” Sound advice, and better late than never.

God of Vengeance

Written by Sholem Asch

Adapted by Stephen Fife

The Center Players

Orlando Fringe Festival</B>

How to measure one’s status, status with God and status with one’s fellow

Jew? God is clear on a few things – sin and salvation, holy writ and

honoring the Torah. Where you stand against one’’s fellow, that’s more

difficult. Yankel (Shelly Ackerman) runs a nice, profitable business. He

runs a house, a house as in “of ill repute”. He hopes to keep daughter

Rivkele (Christine Morales) pure and honorable, never letting her know

what goes on downstairs, and perhaps marry her off to a nice young

rabbi. He buys a Torah scroll, laboriously copied letter by letter,

astoundingly expensive and astoundingly holy, which might just do the

trick. Were Rivkele to only avoid her friend Manke (Amanda Schlachter)

from downstairs! Her friendship long ago passed from innocent desire to

physical lust, threating her chances as a good Jewish wife. Slimy

Shloyme (Mike Mayhall) has plans of snatching Manke and the other girls

to start his own house, and if only pure, innocent Rivkele could come

along… He might even make Hindl (Jennifer Smith) an honest woman, if

that would help.

Love and money are no match for honor and appearance, and Rivkele’s

departure disgraces Yankel and his new Torah. If you drop the Torah on

the ground, the whole community must fast for 40 days. If the owner is a

Lesbian.. who knows what would happen? It’s got to be an even bigger

schmertz im dem tokhes. Not good, certainly.

Originally written 100 years ago, this play was booted off the New York

stage for both strong sexual content and a challenge to the deepest

tenets of Judaism. The relation between God and man is just as important

as the relation between father and daughter, employer and employee,

respectability and disgrace. Women are slapped around, which shocks us

today, while respectability and God’s very existence is challenged,

which shocked our forbearers. Today we recognize the disgrace of

homosexuality, but please don’t ignore the disgrace of apostasy. Both

will damn you, and both skate to the every abyss of damnation in

tonight’s show.

Salome Written by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Laura-Lea Oliver

Cerulean Group

Orlando Fringe Festival -Orange Venue</b>

Herod’s in a box. A teeny, tiny box. One wall is battle-axe wife

Herodias (Gloria Duggan), snatched from his brother, God only knows

why. Another wall is anchored in far off Rome, which deigns him a

kingship so long as he cooperates and keeps the taxes rolling in. Wall 3

is his lust-bunny half-daughter Salome, nudge nudge. The biggest wall

hangs from high heaven, in the form of that annoying prophet Jokanaan

the Baptist. Jokanaan may well work for Jehovah almighty, and Herod is

in no good position to push THAT wall too hard. After all, Herod

(Stephen Jones) is a good Jew. Salome, the classic spoiled little

princess, thinks Jokanaan is sexy in a weekend slumming sort of way.

Man of God that he is, Jokanaan tells her to get stuffed, you little

daughter of the whore of Babylon. Trying to impress the Roman ambassador

and get a cheap thrill for himself, Herod convinces icy Salome to do the

dance of the 7 veils. Ever the spurned woman, she’ll not settle for a

few shekel notes in her g-string, she wants a bigger tip -Jokanaan’s

head on the silver platter. Oooh, not what Herod had in mind, even

though all seven veils fall in quick succession. Still, Herodias thinks

it’s a good idea, and Herod is basically a wuss, so off that pesky head

goes. Herod is not happy. Rome couldn’t care less. God remains silent.

The flowery language of Wilde and Jokanaan’s ranting present a

challenging counterpoint to the modern listener. Rather than the direct

linear motion of the modern pen, Wilde wends around the language,

repeating motifs and motivations as in the ancient literary mode. Jones’

antsy Herod remind one of an uncomfortable James T. Kirk hoping someone

will beam him out of this bet gone bad. Icy Salome (Julia Granacki) plays

his inverse as she stares the audience down and satisfies her mother’s

lust. When she trades modesty for the vengeance of spurned lust,

everyone but Herod stares with drool running down their chin. Did she do

it for mommy? Of course not. She did just what mommy would have, had she

the breasts.

The Ballad of Reading Goal

Written by Oscar Wilde

Adapted by Alan Bruun and Jason Moyer

Mad Cow Theater

Orlando Fringe – Blue Venue</b>

Who says jail isn’t a barrel of yucks? Cable TV, weight machines, 3

squares a day… or cold dripping walls, cold chains around one’s ankles, a

desperation of lost souls, souls who ignored the rules of civilized men,

and now have lost not only their freedom but the last remnants of any

civilized society. Having broken the rules, they themselves must be

broken. A single match, blood on their hands, their heads, their hearts,

the moaning of dark solitary souls, lost souls, souls condemned to a

week or a year or a life of torment – torment stemming from the torment

they passed on fellow man.

The flower of Victorian England, sentenced to 3 years hard labor mostly

for the crime of hubris, Wilde sends us the haunting record of a life

lost inside. As Wilde ponders his fall from grace, others fall faster

and farther, for killing what they love to the final punishment, falling

from the gallows to the gaping hole in the prison yard, the unmarked,

unnoticed, unholy grave. This poem, long and florid, here reappears as

the shadow of humans stripped of dignity, stripped of face, of name, of

identity, leaving only the moans of the jailed. Bruun’s adaptation

syncopates the flow of rhythm, leaving only the lost world of an individual

trapped in a universe of society’s making. Society made it, but the

prisoner chose to enter it. Join them for an hour. You can leave, but

they must remain.

Trailer Trash Tabloid

Wanzie & Doug

Orlando Fringe Festival

Green Venue</b>

There are two general classes of drag queens. One class looks like a guy

in a dress, and the other makes you say “Oooh – That’s a GUY?” Wanzie

and Doug are in that first class, and that’s the most interesting class,

and the funniest. There’s a little mystery on Velvetta Drive, what with

Frank Falkenburg mysteriously shot while an F5 tornado delivers God’s

eternal message – “I HATE trailer parks”. We’ll solve this mystery the

American Way – an expose on tabloid TV. One by one, the friends and

enemies of Frank come on stage and tell their pathetically hysterical

stories. Mostly in drag, but dressed even worse, they present hilarious

duets of white trash jokes, sexual innuendo and flamingo symbolism.

You’ll hear just how Delilah Falkenburg survived the storm by hiding in

an acoustically perfect Weber smoker and eating charcoal briquettes, and

if Maxine MacIntyre ever got picked up by the fuzz.

One of the funniest shows at the Fringe, Trailer Trash Tabloid shows

that not every flamer puts on silly little plays JUST so they can dress

like a woman in public and get a laugh. Hey, they could dress in Jeans

and an Arrow shirt and still get a laugh.

Blood Lake

Pickett & Spiller Productions

Orlando Fringe Festival

Orange Venue</b>

The only thing worse than being stuck on Blood Lake III is trying to

live down your work on Blood Lake II. Make it really scary now – you’re

not just in a bad film, you’re in a musical ABOUT that bad film. Horror

Star Billy Cross (Jim Mundy) has the improbable hit “Heavy Rotation”

creeping up to number 3 on the charts, but semi-evil producer Jack Dare

(Darryl Picket) holds him by the contractual short hairs. Dare’s

with his leading lady Vanessa Winter (Amy Wilkins), who struggles to

reconcile with her mother Gloria (Ellen Cowley MacLeish). Mom suffers

from a mysterious disease, possibly contracted from starring in the

original Blood Lake. Pneumatic reporter Samantha Stone (Debbie Sussman)

hangs around documenting the creative process for E!, and prodding the

plot along when it gets lost. Billy eventually convinces Dare to knife

Vanessa, then knife Billy, and finally shoot himself. Dare had

considered knifing himself, but didn’t want to be stuck in a rut.

Mixed talents, a zillion blackouts, and the constant use of cellphones

as plot devices make Blood Lake into a sort of Mud Lake.

Conway-MacLeish’s torch rendition of “It Should Have Been” is the

musical highlight, with Mundy’s “Heavy Rotation” more of a cold reading

than a hot pop tune. Acting fire came from Vanessa and Gloria’s

mis-aligned attempts at reconciliation, and Dare’s mistrust of Vanessa

leading to a tragic results. There’s a story here, lost in the made for

TV pacing, and there might even be a musical with some stronger voices.

But lose “Heavy Rotation” – the audience was as embarrassed listening to

it as Billy was singing it.

No Laughing Matter: Back From the Dead!

Performance Space Orlando</b>

“Hey – you got Sketch in my Improv!” “No way, you got Improv all over

my Sketch!” This ever happen to you? Well, the two can get on, as long

as they both agree to play nice, keep a colon in the title, and not

throw spit wads at one another. A taxman’s

filled the family-packed PSO, with top comedy honors going to the Urinal

Segment. Two actors on prescription strength Improv each creating a line

starting with letters ranging from A to Z, describing the all-too-common

situation of two guys duking it out for dibs in the john. Zoinks, it was

funny, and you girls will learn why guys don’t go together. And why they

check their fly AFTER they leave.

As sketches go, the Boys in the Barber Shop played a long game of

slightly mis-heard words, showing the amazing relations that exist

between Jackie Gleason, Yogi bear and that fuzz butt Jedi master, whose

name eludes me at the moment. Are there subliminal messages imbedded

here? Boy, I hope so. The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse thought so, and

one of them was already dead.

Other noteworthy events were the Horrors Film Scene repeated as the

“Brady Bunch Theme”, and a Dr. Suess children’s tale as an Opera. The

great thing Opera version? It was at least as coherent as a Real

Opera, the plot made sense, and it was sung in English. Speaking of

singing, Sound of Music achieved full metal deconstruction by a crack

team of Austrian Engineers. I think they were crack engineers, anyway,

they had vu graphs and slide rules. Does this make sense? No need to –

after all, its a show tune! Clever sketch, crisp improv, and let’s hope

these fellows Rise from the Dead again soon. After all, not just anyone

can get a laugh from the word “Pudenda”.

How to Eat Like a Child

Act III Acting Studio

Orlando Fringe Festival

Orange Venue</b>

Ah, the innocence of youth – torturing you sister, pestering mom for a

dog, sneaking turnips into the trash uneaten, and trying to get your

sister to puke in the car. We hate it when our kids do it, even more so

when someone else’s kids do it in public, but when you’re 8, what else

it there? Lust? Cocaine? Pokemon? Day trading? Of course not. It’s

harassing the others trapped in your world, or nothing.

Thirteen bouncing 13 year-olds sang, mined and acted the foibles of

childhood. A 13 year-old acting as an 8 year-old isn’t that big a

stretch (Hollywood uses 18 year-olds to portray 8 year-olds), but these

youngsters can step outside their recent experience and show us old

folks a funny and enjoyable Family Circus view of childhood. The gory

details, the running to 3 soccer practices a night, the $200 designer

sneakers, the casual use of firearms in the classroom, that all can wait.

This is the fun childhood. Dance along to the “Torturing Your Sister

Tango”, and relive someone else’s childhood.

An Evening at the Grand Guignol

Siren Productions

Orlando Fringe Festival

Blue Venue</b>

Ah, zee Franch! It’s not enough for them to produce Moliere and Racine,

they must balance the high art with the low art, hence Le Grand Guignol.

With macabre stories pulled from the tabloid of the day, Guignol

re-enacts them, using gallons of carefully-designed fake blood.

Tonight’s show begins with the secret desire of all actors – the ability

to select the critics in the audience, humiliate them, knife them, then

throw their sorry butts out in the alley. God knows it happens to me ALL

THE TIME. I will admit, the guy had it coming. Rather than sit still

and do his job, he entered into an argument face to face with the sort

of big scary guy you know not to mess with at bike week. Served him

right.

On to the main event – torture, blood and the HMO experience. A new

patient, patient 13, has arrived at the Shadwell Clinic. Dr. Sortie and

Big Nurse want to cure him from the madness induced by a failed abortion

on his girl friend, an abortion that killed her as well as the child.

We have no time for remorse or moralizing, but we do have time for some

bloody Mototool surgery and flensing a mad woman. And a big, juicy blood

zit. Yummy.

Rough and shocking, no one recommends this for children. Children would,

of course, be fascinated by it, and that’s why we shouldn’t let them see

it. Is the blood and gore necessary to the plot? Of course. It IS the

plot. And you’ll love it. Go for a pizza right after.

Twilight at Montecello

Directed by Michael Carleton

Written by and Starring J.D. Sutton

UCF Shakespeare / Playlab series</b>

America was founded by Mythic Heroes, just like every great land. The

pay is low, hours long, but you get your face on the pocket change, and

that’s something. Tom Jefferson, retired to his mountaintop country

retreat, gently tolerates the audience tonight, as he chats about

flowers, the plight of the Negro, the tabloid press, and the joys of

writing for public comment. With a resume as comprehensive as his (did

some pro bono work for the revolutionary congress, Ambassador,

inventor, founded a University, even did that presidential thing),

complete disclosure is out of the question. What we do cover in this

rough draft of a one-man play shows Jefferson as a concerned liberal in

the best sense of the word, and a very human person. Better laws, better

governance, loss of his wife and children, and agony for the souls he

inherits drove him, and you will worry about these as well. He did have

slaves, but it turns out you couldn’t just free them in 1820 – you’d

have to send them to Illinois territory, which was worse than keeping

them on the cotton field.

While the play as presented is still a work in progress, it shows great

promise as a low key yet hugely entertaining evening spent with a man

(Sutton) who knows and loves Jefferson as few do. While the topics covered

sound heavy and polemic, the sense of the evening is time well spent

with a funny and lovable uncle. The struggles Jefferson faced are the

same struggles any public figure faces today. The hot topics of 1820

are still hot today, and not all that much has changed in 200 years.

Well, one thing has. Our sentences are much shorter. That’s my 5 cents

worth.


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