Archikulture Digest

Number 9: August, 2000

Deep in the dog days of summer, there’s still enough

happening to give any devoted trendiod a good reason not to watch

“Survivor.” This issue – we vote to keep PSO, but WPRK is about to get

the boot from This Island Orlando. And, Nick at Night showed the crucial

second episode of Gilligan’s Island – you know, the one where they

explain how everyone has a fresh set of designer clothes EVERY SINGLE

EPISODE, even though it was just a 3 hour tour.

Portrait of a Woman

By Michael Vinaver

Directed by Chad Lewis

Starring Edward Campbell, Laura Harn, Bob Noble, Stephen Parsi

Theater Downtown</b>

Sophia Auzanneau shot ex-boy friend Xavier Bergeret (Campbell) three

times. No question there. A bit loose, maybe a nympho, she juggles

multiple lovers like flaming torches, but that’s no capital crime. Yeah,

she hung with the Wehrmacht during the occupation, but they were so

handsome and who knows – they might have won after all. The only

serious question surrounds her state of mind. Did she aim for a murder -suicide and miss the second act? Without suspense, we know the result

before the play really takes off. There’s a teaser plant in the pre-show

audience going on about the morality of the death penalty, but that

never comes up at trial, leaving Sophie to life at hard labor. Open &

shut, n’est pas?

Shattered by the prism of time and memory, Portrait evokes the

simultaneity of reflection on a past event. The actions, relations,

outcomes stroll though our mind providing drama. It’s Cubist Theater –

everything visible from every angle all at once. Sadly, by knowing the

outcome before the action, the play reaches no dramatic climax, leaving

actors fighting hard against a fluffy pillow of dramatic certainty.

Involved in the sordid novella of Sophie’s search for love, the audience

never hangs on the precipice. The sepia set perches Judge (Bob Nobel)

impossibly high, looming over the action. Fluid lighting changes and

on the fly costume shifts make following the time and place of every

event fairly easy, even with two actresses playing two characters

simultaneously. The effect is beautiful, but the action flaccid.

Sophie (Harn) lost all love, even before the war took her brothers, and

searches for the orgasm that might make her whole. The vigorous

assistant prosecutor Lubet (Parsi) makes a good case for eliminating

leniency from her future. Most intriguing are the dual roles played by

Gloria Duggan and Barbara Blake as Sophie’s mother and landlady. The near

simultaneous lines weave these two roles into one – the rejecting mother

and the gruff but supportive friend. Does Sophie deserve death? Not for

the murder. He did reject her, and they were so French. But for the

collaboration, perhaps. After all, some of her lovers were a little too German.

Pardon Me: I Promise To Do My Best

Written & Performed by Ranney and Ize Ofrika

Performance Space Orlando

7-7-00</b>

Let’s begin with a little etiquette lesson about that most infamous of

euphemisms, the dreaded “N” word. If you’re a white boy like me whose

folks just popped over to dodge the draft in the Franco-Prussian war,

you never use this term in public. Not ever. If you’re a moderately hip

black, you may use this term informally with close friends. But never in

public. But, if you’re an Angry Young Black Man, you are required to use

it at every opportunity, particularly in public. Why this apparent

multiple standard? Well, the AYBM is sublimating oppression into irony.

It’s much funnier.

We open the One Man Jam with Mr. Ize Ofrica and a stream-of-consciousness rant about slavery and computer discrimination and the

rotten deal you get being black. Suffused with righteous anger, Ize

leaves no doubt about his intent and motivation. Rejection of the white

economy and the white society and white norms is the only true

alternative for the dislocated black man. Integration is not an option.

Civil rights were a sell out. Heavy, man.

With the stage set, Ranney runs though a broad swath of material.

Besides standup jokes and poetry, we get hysterical stories of super

religious granny, outsmarting the Man, and an occasional a cappella

scratch hip hop song. A small, mostly white audience that didn’t always click

with his intro lines (sorry, none of us saw “Soul Food”) made the stand

up hard going, but the stories were a scream. My favorite was the tale

of Kenny “One Good Shoe”, the only illiterate newsstand operator in

town. Boss’s dog Skippy got a bit nippy, but after the tragic accident

Kenny preaches a eulogy so moving I almost contributed to the Skippy

memorial fund. By far the strongest part of both performances was the

streaming images of chants and rant. While not easy to follow the rhythm

and tone of the voice carried the emotional content as strongly as any

closely reasoned argument. There’s just one remaining question – why are

there two guys in a “One Man Jam”?

WPRK Rally

7-15-00

Rollins College</b>

Let’s start with the fundamental fact. A radio station is a license to

print money. Period. The license is granted gratis to a given party, and

all the talk about public service and community is just so much fluff to

burnish that one bare fact. Now, for most stations, we see how that

money rolls of the press. Blaring used car ads, fast food come-ons, all

separated by just enough of the hits to keep you tuned in – all a fine

balance, honed by years of experience. Other stations, also acting in

the public interest, hold themselves out as the hand of God and ask for

your money to keep those holy radio waves flowing. Least ingenious are

the arty farty stations with their endless fund drives. Send us all your

money, you cheap so and so, lest we take Barney and Garrison Keillor

away from you. There are precious few stations anywhere not dedicated to

the almighty dollars, and those are all affiliated with Colleges. WPRK

is such a rara avis.

WPRK is now for sale, and the most recent WPRK monthly DJ staff meeting

transformed into a Save The Station rally after a wave of publicity in

several local papers. Two of the station leaders, speaking to the crowd

on the condition of anonymity (they have scholarships, after all) went

through the facts as known. Orlando’s last student run college radio

station (WPRK 91.5) is now on the block. WMFE (90.7), our local PBS

powerhouse offers to upgrade the studio and transmitter in exchange for

complete control over the Morning through Evening Drive Time. Students

will still be allowed to program the graveyard shift, but only as

interns to WMFE. The deal’s not finalized, but may be early in the fall.

All of this is perfectly legal. WPRK is the property of Rollins College,

a private institution. It’s a valuable asset, and they may dispose of it

as they will. Run as a student club the license for WPRK is held by the

board of regents. The school provides the license because it happens to

have one and up until now hadn’t thought of anything better to do with

it. Unfortunate, WPRK also happens to be doing something unique and of

actual benefit to the community, and now that will stop. Ambient music

and Rasta and heavy metal hip hop may not be everyone’s idea of culture,

but in a city that can’t support a symphony and gets excited about

overpriced point guards, that’s about all we have.

WPRK began half a century ago, when a drive from Orlando to Winter park

actually involved passing though orange groves. A broadcasting club was

a pleasant diversion and gave a few students something to do when not

hanging at the I Tappa Keg house or studying for the Life Studies

midterm. Today, however, we wake up and find ourselves in the 33rd

largest market in the country and you can’t even find an orange tree at

Home Depot. That toy radio station is now worth big bucks, and it’s not

being properly exploited. For shame, Rollins. For shame.

Radio is the most transient of art forms. Often banal, sometimes

brilliant, when the DJ speaks, that moment radiates at the speed of

light and is gone. Without realizing it, the puny 1300 watts in Winter

park emits more brilliance than all the rest of the stations in Central

Florida. It should continue providing it’s whisper of weirdness. It’s

not too late to express your thoughts, and if we all sing loud enough,

we just might win this war. Send your comments to Rollins college

(www.rollins.edu), and send a copy to savewprk@www.com.

No Laughing Matter Presents “Study your Vocab”

Performance Space Orlando

7-29-00</B>

Let’s knock off the mandatory stuff – per the Federal Comedy Act of

1973, all comedy troupes in the United States must perform a Star Trek

rip-off. Must…contain..

Kirk’s…bad…acting…Scotty’s…cheap…ass..warp…drive…

swaying.. with…the…photon torpedoes… got it. Now we can move on to

trashing a few local institutions. China Jade, the local restaurant with

the drag queen waiters, more concerned with procedure than selling Moo

Goo Gai Pan to the yang huei takes a sound beating. Personally, I prefer

Jum-Bo, where the waiter has never ever Kung Fu’d me, even when I left a

crummy tip. WMFE and its eternal pledge drive merits some abuse, as

they hold up the Beatles reunion to nag for more money to buy more

programming to use to prop apart the pledge drives … well, at least

they killed off the Teletubbie. They tortured La-La, which was a bit too

nice for my taste.

And what’s an improv group without a little improv? Rick Dickson (the

large black-haired one) and Jim Wert (the pudgy bald guy) went to

Oprah’s house to do some damage, first as Dr. Suess characters, then in a

Pinter play, and eventually as a Blaxplotation flick. Word. We tried a

little ABC bit with the gods on Mt Olympus getting down to about the F

word when Chris Murphy (the …well. YOU know one) broke things up with

a little Survivor Island game that involved voting himself off the

island and onto a rotisserie spit. Good move, Chris.

With a standing-room only crowd and no discernable A/C, the room was

packed with enthusiastic partisans sweating with the comics. Some of the

patrons were stripped down to their wifebeaters, but none of the

audience I wanted to see strip did. Despite this minor disappointment,

NLM put in a solid and worth seeing again show. Catch them when you can,

and toss a few bucks in the PSO Air condition funds. We’d all appreciate

it.

The Chocolate King

Read by the Playwright’s Round Table

Enzian Theater

7-16-00</b>

There are a million screenplays in the naked city. This is just one of

them. Mickie runs a hopping chocolate shop in Townsville. It’s not clear

what he puts in that stuff, but they don’t call it “Bravery” or “Desire”

for nothing. Emily is dating Frank, but you know immediately she’s

supposed to be going with Mickie. How? You just can, that’s why it’s a

screenplay. Mickie’s about 6 hours divorced, and he falls for some

ultra perky television reporter who is actually seeing a weird

millionaire who’s already married. Funny thing is, he approves of the

marriage. Ok, everyone’s properly mis-aligned, and now we rearrange

them. Frank asks Emily to marry him, and when rejection comes for the

umpteenth time in 3 years, he bolsters his case by confessing an ongoing affair with his secretary. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d brag about

that to my fishing buddies, not to the woman I want to do my taxes with.

Now to split Mickie and TV lady -a world-wise caterer points out that

maybe she’s not right for Mick, and the neighborhood wino stumbles in to

back up the case. Out of the mouths of the help, as they say.

We must understand that this is still a work in progress. While the

main story line is pretty standard, there are a zillion little sub plots

and enough minor characters to fill a sitcom. The strongest and least

developed is wino Jack Burns, who swings between sobriety and

incoherence vigorously, armed with a strong command of creative

profanity. The other characters swear a hell of a lot, but damn it,

they’re not as fucking cute when they do. Ass holes. (See what I mean?)

Mickie is nice, Emily cute and shy, and they’re just sort of boring.

What shows the biggest potential is the stable of side characters, most

involved or implied in seamy side affairs. The best line comes when the

chocolate delivery boy gets seduced by the two “church ladies” in a

hotel room – “We’re here to eat chocolate and drink likker.” I’d join

them.

Extreme Playwrights Adventure

Mission to Planet Zolblatt

Performance Space Orlando July 8, 2000</b>

Critic’s log: Star date July 8, 2000. There’s not much time. Write a

play overnight, shanghai some actors, and put that puppy up on stage in

a week. The Folgers Crystals are nearly depleted, and only 7 writers

survived the ordeal, but at least no junior security officers were

injured. This second session of the Extreme Playwrights Adventures is

set on a space ship to somewhere, staffed by the ever-changing

holographic navigator Precious (Brian Alexander). “Overrun by Over

actors” opens with Shakespearian captain Steve Gardner in cosmic

overdrive, vouching safe and soothing fore in fine Elizabethan form.

His crew – the fluttery Yoga girl and seen it all Miss Film Noir Person.

Can he pierce Precious for the heinous crime of licking Yoga Girl? No,

of course not. It’s a hologram, silly.

Another standout was “Zolbott or Busted”. Captain Tom Ryan and first

officer Jennifer Jackeres are in their jammies, but need someone to tuck

them in with their Thorazine and hallucinations. Each has their own set

of aliens to battle, and the other is always supportive even if they

can’t always se the threat. Eventually the pills kick in, and it’s time

for the real evil alien to hijack what’s left of reality.

Well, we know deep space is conductive to lust. “Eight Weeks” has a

little lovers quarrel threaten to spill into the audience as Captain

Brain Bradley and Crew person Audrey Kearns have it out over sexual

frustration. The Siamese Space Twins provide a small bit of help,

providing calm, factual information that one hears from her in-laws. And

they get in the end, ha ha, hee hee!

Time for one last episode – “Stardate 1-2-4-3-5” with the doped-up Kevin

Snipes as Captain JTK, toking where no man has toked before.

Hyper-supportive director, cheerleader, and general pain in the touche

Kyles Koscoe, cheers him on to the point of near murder, but being the

consummate over-actor, he pops right back into character as the

bitchiest JTK ever when she shouts “action.” God, I love watching

professionals overact.

Watch for more Zolbott intrigue as 6 writers extend these skits to half-hour Not Quite Ready For Public Access quality shows later this summer.

And where exactly IS planet Zolbott? Just south of the Flamingo galaxy

and not too far from space station Will’s. It’s sort of a black hole of

unfiltered comedy and short shorts. Beam me up a cold one, Precious.

PriquŽ: A Love Story

By Curt Nichols / NY Acting Ensemble

Performance Space Orlando

7-24-00</b>

Meet Eddie PriquŽ – that’s pronounced as if French – “Pree – KAY “- not

as if American – “Johnson” or “Schlong”. Eddie (Daniel Cory) runs the

Silicon Valley Dating Company, serving up fake dates to Internet geek

millionaires. Serves them right for being so rich. Anyway, office manager

Julie’s (Bet Malloy) in love with him, even though Eddie’s the biggest

jerks this side of a used car lot. Fake dates for big bucks aren’t

exactly truth in advertising, and one of the clients has caught on. Mr.

Grimes sends his oily attorney (Jim Chlopecki) around for a little

customer satisfaction, demanding a date with Julie. Needless to say,

Julie has taken a powder and rolled down to the Whales Tale to drown her

sorrow in cheap Chilean Chardonnay and commiserate with professional

dater Amy (Laurel Robinson). Will Eddie convince her to save his

miserable hide, or will Grimes reformat Eddie’s hard drive? Scary stuff

for Eddie, but they don’t call him Prique for nothing.

A small but competent cast pulls off this light summer spritzer of a

comedy with plenty of Žlan. My favorite charter is Barkeep (William

Poulson) who pops back and forth between a fakey French accent and a

good ole boy back slap. He doesn’t have a name, but keeps up the

Frechified aura of sleaze. Eddie lives up to his name and Julie has

that vulnerable “I’ll wait forever for that big jerk” appeal that loser

guys just love. Eddie sums it up best when he states “I HAD to be a jerk

to impress you.” Women love it.


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