Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things

Created and directed by Donald Rupe

It’s a warm fall evening, and I’m standing in an alley downtown not visited since a Fringe Festival over a decade ago. The night air hangs heavy with the smell of weed and Covid. Motorcycles cruise Orange Avenue like glass packed renegades at Bike Week. Tonight bars are packed and fully open for the first time in ages, and the Party People blow off their frustrations. I stare into blinding stage lights, frozen like a deer on opening night. It’s “Fully Immersive Theater” time, and our alternate universe begins with the assumed assassination of Herbert Hoover. Now the United States is sadder than even Russia, and 20th century alternative America that now looms over us like sinking poll ratings that won’t reverse. There are four cohorts you might chose to follow and the scenes scatter all over this vibrant downtown. I’m hustled off to City Hall were my journey begins. I’m the only rider on this journey, and technician called “Tim” tells me were to stand and when it’s safe to move. A freedom fighter crashes a speech and we follow her and the “Mayor” down a rabbit hole of politics and double dealing and lies. Sound like Fox News in many ways. Our freedom fighter receives a mission from an improbably detailed plan to overthrow the over throwers. A revolt may or may not happen, but the game is afoot!

An actor and my technician / tour guide and I walk down a passage and information changes hands. Then The Mayor and Tim and I cross streets and follow railroad tracks to an alley off Church Street I never noticed before. As alleys go, it’s clean and painted and it doesn’t smell like pee. But it is a safe ground between the Powerful and the Revolution. Pacts are made and broken, and we proceed through the urban jungle of empty beer keg and chain link fences. Bars pass us by, I never realized how many drinking establishments Orlando hosts and how loud they blast their music. Our troupe eventually passes on to the plaza fronting the History Museum. Here a final climatic battle matches relative evil and faulty good, all done via interpretive modern dance backed by six styles of music blaring from six different bars. How else would you resolve the apocalyptic revolution? Now, where did I leave my car?

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