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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for May, 2008

The Greg Barris Heart of Darkness Rock and Roll Circus

Monday, May 26th, 2008

The Greg Barris Heart of Darkness Rock and Roll Circus
By Greg Barris and Rickshaw Boy International
Green Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

I was dazed and confused when I got around to this one man monologue backed by a totemistic sound man waving reeds. Greg Barris details his experience in Finding Himself in a sensory deprivation tank, and then by taking the hallucinogenic Dimethyltryptamine. He ruminates on his relations with women, why child molesters get caught, and how creating a universal hate of Greg Barris might bring the world together in a way that love never could. It’s late. Very late. But very interesting.

More information on Greg Barris and Rickshaw boy may be found at http://rickshawboy.com/This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/ <p

Galapagos: The Directors Cut

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Galapagos: The Directors Cut
2 Candy Bars and a $5 Dollar Bill
Green Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

I liked this tour so much last year I decided to take it again. Signore Basso Voche (Michael Marzella), operator of this no frill, no floatation device tour of the Galapagos Islands, stands off stage narrating in a deep, resonant voice that sets off seismometers around the area. As he details the life and mating habits of Frigate Birds, Blue Footed Boobies and Sea Lion Pups, his crew of Cephus (Joe Wesson), Corto (Tony Lopez) and Alto (Eddie Wilder) mime the animal’s mating, eating and reproduction habits. It’s not as explicit as the Discovery Channel, but each segment is a physical comedy gem. This year’s Director’s Cut adds a look at the Undersea Kingdom, a completely worthwhile extension to the tour and worth the extra fee. The costumes are violently clever and made from common, recyclable materials. It’s an earth friendly show, and no actors are injured in its production.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Don Juan In Despair

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Don Juan In Despair
Flying Phoenix
Green Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

Don Juan Tenorio sits on a nearly bare stage, musing about how his legendary seductions are made irrelevant by today’s loose moral standards. A young, more modern Don Carlos walks on stage with brief case and cell phone. They debate the relative merits of a quick, easy seduction with no remorse vs. the dangers of seducing women surrounded by fathers and brothers and mothers all armed with good Toledo steel. Two female tourists wander on stage, the men shrug, and offer to escort them around town.

While the story is short and feels more like a writing exercise than a full play, it’s not quite as bad as I had been lead to believe by beer tent scuttlebutt. The idea is interesting but lacks development, although the actors were up to snuff and Don Juan’s Sword was very impressive.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Mark Baratelli

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Mark Baratelli
Pink Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

A few years ago, someone did a little show that was basically a Tony Robbins motivational rah rah, and I felt a bit disappointed. This year, the inventive Mr Baratelli repairs that offence with his much more entertaining “How Do You Feel? Life Coaching Seminar.” Normally I hate motivational speakers, but I’ll make an exception here – Mr. Baratelli slices and dices the genera, ridiculing everything but stopping short of actually cleaning out or wallets. We learn that suicide IS an option, laugh hysterically at an 80 year old woman’s pratfall, and then sit awkwardly when Lady Raptastic arrives and lets the air out of the room. Alternately hysterical and uncomfortable, Mark Baratelli’s show is at least as entertaining as the art form he ridicules.

More information on Mr. Bartelli’s shows may be found at http://MarkBaratelli.comThis show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/ <p

Truth or Dare with Pepe

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Truth or Dare with Pepe
By Rob Ward and Superfreinds
Brown Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

This is the raunchiest show of the fringe, and it leans heavily on harassing hapless audience members foolish enough to sit in the front row. Mild-mannered Rob Ward turns into the flamboyant Pepe in his blue wig, sequined jump suit and leopard skin shoes. A panel of “special guests” from other shows drifts out on stage, and Pepe plays truth or dare with them and the audience in turn. This was the last show of the run, and diminutive Ben from VarieTEASE gave a very impressive lap dance while Chris Gibson of Bric-a-Brac danced with danger. The weirdest thing I can write about is the demon possessed man who was turned on by an armpit sniffing demonstration. Truly weird, and not for the easily embarrassed.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Vivian Penmark’s “Parlour Games”

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Vivian Penmark’s “Parlour Games”
By Kathryn Davis
Carbon Productions
Brown Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

What makes the perfect woman? In “Parlour Games,” it’s a combination of House, Husband, Children, Cooking and Etiquette. Call it fashioned, but that combination still makes enough people happy to keep society going. Mrs. Vivian Penmark (Kathryn Davis) interacts with the audience – tying up the guys, using virgin’s blood to soften the hands of the girls, and passing out prizes for their inconvenience. She offers enough world weary information to prepare any young lady for adult life in the suburbs or the Country Club.

Most of her tips were thrifty and useful. Using a vodka spritz to eliminate smoke smells, applying lemon and cucumber as beauty products, and easily removing baby by-product stains with peroxide made good sense. The section on using cyanide to quietly kill off offensive men at bars was less so, and her Garbage Nazi tirade reminds us why Home Owners Associations are a double edge sword. “Parlour Games” off beat tupperware party atmosphere serves as a timely introduction to the Modern Woman for old fashioned young men.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Amanda’s Mix Tape

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Amanda’s Mix Tape
By David Strauss
Directed by Paul Castaneda
Greater Orlando Actor’s Theater
Red Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

Let’s slide back to the 90’s – no cell phones, VHS tapes, and Zombie movies rule the screen. Scott (David Strauss) and his buddies Razz (Rob Delmedico) and Jack (Kevin Sigman) spend their days drinking, playing softball and speaking almost exclusively in quotes from movies. They’re at that age where commitment and steady sex is beginning to appeal, and Scott gets lucky first. His main squeeze is Amanda (Elizabeth Loftus), and they get along well enough until he reverts to his self-centered guy mode and forgets to call her from a softball tournament when she had mall plans. This is enough to upset their apple cart, and when Amanda’s dad has a heart attack, she has a valid excuse to move out. Scott’s heartbroken enough to reject an approach by Kelly (Kim Luffman) in favor of a spectacular stunt to reclaim Amanda. Somehow, I think this will set the mood for their entire future.

The stakes never seem high enough to make Scott’s stunt seem worthwhile, and the pop culture references make long stretches of the story hard to follow. Still, there are plenty of gags, and Larry Stalling steals the show at the end as the Angry Fruit Deliveryman. Strauss and his company do seem stuck in the 90’s – you get the idea they are classic slackers almost ready to grow up, and all the women surrounding them are hoping to help them make the change. Ultimately, neither will be happy.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Reefer Madness

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Reefer Madness
By Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney
The Warren Acting Company
Silver Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

This is so frustrating. More than a few Fringe shows have forgone programs this year. If it’s a one man show or there’s a web site, no problem, figuring out who wrote and acted is obvious. But in this 12 person full blown musical, I have no idea who played what, or what songs were sung in what order. Ganja does that, I hear.

This spiffy musical riffs off the 1936 anti-dope film shown endlessly at midnight movies during the 70’s. The writing credentials are sound, author Kevin Murphy was head writer for Mystery Science 3000 for several years. The story concerns a young man who has everything to live for – a cute girlfriend, healthy sports program involvement, and he gets along with his folks. Then one day, an evil mobster tricks him into visiting a combination speakeasy, smoking den, and whorehouse where the first joint is free. Our hero soon falls in with the sleazy and decadent life style, commits a few murders and then falls into the gutter. I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson here.

“Reefer Madness” draws you in, entertains, and then like a long night of drug abuse, leaves you on the sidewalk thinking “Whoa, dude! What just happened? Who were all those people?”

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

Bites of Broadway

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Bites of Broadway
Directed by Steve MacKinnon
Choreography by Danielle Lang
Broadway Class Act
Brown Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

Anyone who can squeeze 22 singers onto the microscopic stage in the Brown Venue AND pull off the elaborate choreography of Broadway Class act is OK by me. This energetic and enthusiastic troupe sings the big hits of Broadway, beginning with the classics from 42nd Street era. They quickly launch into the more modern hits, scrounging material form Wicked, Drowsy Chaperone and the Wedding Singer. Nearly everyone gets a solo – Bruce Costella does a great job with “Great Big Stuff” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The witty “Song That Goes Like This” from Spam-A-Lot features Noelle Sundreen and Ben Tyson heading for the middle 8, and Emma Broming belts out the sappy standard “Tomorrow” from Annie. Some of the voices on the other numbers felt weak, which may have been due to my seat way up stage. This group has promise, but I think about half as many people on stage would have made for a more visible show.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

The UnNaturals

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

The UnNaturals
Directed by Clare Mullen
With Ron Pearson, Molly Pearson, Tom Pearson
Silver Venue, Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival

There are two competing spiritualist shows this year, with The UnNaturals the slightly quieter, slightly creepier version. This Canadian based family looks like they’re in the business for the long run, and while father and M.C. Ron Pearson occasionally seems to lose his place in the script, daughter Molly and son Tom keep a steely eyed professionalism. The show was lucky to have some demonstrative people in the audience, and the always impressive “pick a number and get a magic square” trick drew gasps. A later illusion of using a watch to pick envelopes with names of the living or the dead almost failed when the audience volunteer braced her arm so tightly the watch refused to swing or sway. They recovered nicely with their Spirit Box illusion, done with Ms. Molly bound and enclosed in a cloth bag. Adding to the creepiness was a minor key sound track and rather gloomy lighting. It’s a good solid show, and while it’s not over the top spectacular, it’s solid entertainment.

This show is presented as part of the 17th Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Information on times, tickets, and venue location my be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/