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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for July, 2012

The Bachelor Party

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The Bachelor Party
Produced by John DiDonna
Starring Paul Castaneda
July 27 and 28, 2012
Various Locations in Winter Park and Orlando, Fl


Phase 1 – The Expensive Steak Place

It’s in a repurposed mall and maybe you’ve been in for an anniversary or birthday. The waitresses flirt while the waiters look like bouncers. Waiters in a steak joint always look like bouncers, those investment bankers can get pretty rowdy. The drinks are strong, and the only Olympic sport worth watching (beach volley ball) is on the ubiquitous flat screen TV. Twelve of us show up, one short of the Last Supper – a few actors, some producers, and an actual banker. Gathered for one of those critically embarrassing steps in life, people compare ex-wives. There are a lot of them shadowing this group but the mood is upbeat – only one of us is getting hitched this time, although one bright young face offers he will take the plunge in a few months. We make off color jokes. As dinner wraps up, the room gets loud. The debate seems to range around Batman – who was the best? Personally, I’m an Adam West fan, but no point in getting into religious debates after drinking. We move out the parking lot and a quick trip to a dive bar on Mills. We look snazzy, but it’s July in Orlando. What sane person would make his friends wear a suit?


Phase 2 – The Dive Bar

“Let’s make like a fetus and head out.” “I have this great idea for a play. It’s called ‘Frankly Speaking.’ It’s just one long curtain speech.” “Get your cock off my shoulder.” “Has anyone seen ‘Resident Anal?’ ” “He’s such douche nozzle on Face book.” “Sorry, dude. You’re just a bunch of mutants.” “His name was like 14 consonants and the chemical symbol for Boron.” “It’s interestingly gay…” “Rita Moreno is a closet Latina” “It’s like Adam’s hair and (someone’s) tits!”

All of these statements are true. All of them made some sort of sense at the time. That time has passed.


Phase Three – Hookers and Blow

This is the part of the evening when the real debauchery occurs. Or so it is assumed by the opposing bachelorette party. But I can assure them that nothing untoward occurred. We chatted, sipped Asti Spumanti and discussed Middle English Literature and its relevance to a modern post-technical society. True, a few young ladies took their clothes of, but never violated any sort of Orange County nudity audience. A few tips were given, a few taken, and the consensus was that Milton and Chaucer are relevant to the entire process of hubba, hubba, and hubba.

Lights down, sound up, lights back up, and bows.

See you next week at the main event.

There is no more information available for this event.

Those Who Can, Duet

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Those Who Can, Duet
With Tim Evanicki and Pricilla Bagley
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL

This is the first time I’ve ever been intimidated by a pair of cabaret singers. Ms. Bagley and Mr. Evaninki are not only accomplished singers, renowned vocal teachers and great people all around; they can move some serious air. Sure, there were microphones, but they were more hand props than anything needed to improve the acoustics of this packed little room. They opened with a sweet duet in English (Bagley) and Italian (Evanicki), it felt like church. I was fortunate enough to sit on the couch near the piano; it almost felt if I was invading their personal space. Heck, Ms Bagley nearly sat on my lap for one of Evanicki’s solos. The theme tonight was 1980s musicals. We experience “Memories” from “Cats”, a tune from “Miss Saigon,” and a heart stopping “Music of the Night” from Phantom. Evanicki declared that that was the Webber song he now wants people to beg him to sing. I say we pelt them both with flowers until they sing for us again. If anything, this show was too big for this space, and sitting in the front row was an awesome experience that will mark me for life. Bravo!

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

Bare

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Bare
By Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo
Directed by Wade Hair and Justin Scarlat
Starring Michael Gunn, Joey Sikkema, Adriana Milbrath
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park, FL

Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Parties Boarding School. Instead of Nazi nuns with knuckle busting rulers this school features an in house drug dealer, penis piñata parties and a van that can conveniently stolen to get to the rave in the next state. Sexy Ivy (Milbrath) wears tight skirts and a bare midriff, Jock Jason (Gunn) waffles between her and vulnerable Peter (Sikkema), Sassy Sister Chantelle ( YaDonna Russell) directs “Romeo and Juliet” like she’s running a lunch counter on the south side of Chicago, and Father Dishrag ( Jonathan Keebler) takes confession so long as he doesn’t have to hear any of the details. This is WAY more fun than community college!


Well, not everything is fun and confessions. Peter agonizes about coming out while Jason piles up sand bags around his closet. Jason’s sister Nadia (Fo’i Meleah) has body image problems and Ivy finds that easy sex rarely leads to call backs from boys. When Lucas (Tyler Robert Conrady) sells Jason some mystery drug, he fades to black in the climax of R&J, and you almost expect Peter to join him. Jason is the tragic heroine, but we don’t know it until too late.

Sex and death goes best with music, and the sound track from Hartmere and Intrabartolo has a nice pop feel to it with some really memorable songs. “Plain Jane Fat Ass” by Nadia is an unexpected comic gem; she sings “Mother Nature is a Turd” to everyone’s delight. Peter’s mom Claire (Kelly Elisabeth Fagan) gets one beautiful ballad in “Warning” and Sister Chantelle reminds us that “God don’t make no trash” and “I don’t direct no dinner theatre.” Peter has some weak songs at the beginning, I’m not sure if he just wasn’t warmed up or there was a sound problem but his first few songs felt off. Fortunately by his duet with Jason in “Best Kept Secret” he had redeemed himself and kept getting better all evening.

While this show begins with the implication Peter is going to have a hard time in school when he comes out, most of his classmates are pretty civil to him despite his obvious leanings. His issues then focus on his relation with Jason and his mother, and while Jason flip flops about sex, he seems a much stronger character. I thought Ivy was flirty and sexy but the adults in this boarding school seemed distant and not doing their jobs with these high school students. Every survivor of Catholics school I met rails about the discipline and punishment, this school made the Unitarians look tough. So come for the singing and treat this like any good musical – an excuse for a good time, and not a reflection of reality.

For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook.

The Seven Year Itch

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

The Seven Year Itch
By George Axelrod
Directed by Frank Hilgenberg
Starring Adam Cornett and Jackie Prutsman
Theatre Downtown, Orlando FL

Now here’s a man with a serious inner monologue. Richard Sherman (Cornett) edits unpromising books into two bit best sellers and finds his marriage switching to glide. His wife Helen (Pamela Stone) takes their son of the country for the summer, leaving Richard to fantasize about all the women he thinks he could have had. A symbolic tomato plant falls from the apartment above and The Girl (Prutsman) slinks down for a drink and an apology. Richard agonize a bit more as Dr. Brubaker (Tim Bass) drops by to explain why men have affairs after seven years of marriage and how he gets $50 an hour to explain why. This is all very cozy until the Helen shows up in search of her red dress: she needs it for a romantic dinner with Richard’s suave rival Tom McKenzie (Blain Handley). Now Richard is really steamed – should he punch out Tom, confess The Girl to Helen, or just simmer away in a pre-air-conditioning New York summer?

Richard sure can agonize, but he’s got some good material to agonize over. His entire harem recalls a Matt Helm fantasy sequence from the backless Miss Morris (Natalie Reed) to the statuesque Elaine (Stephanie Miller) to the best on-stage name ever: Maria Whatever-Her-Name -Was (Niurka Lopez). Richard sums up the entire post war anxiety about libido, id, ego, and till-death-do-us-part-once-the-passion-has-fled crisis. In one of his funniest roles ever, stuttering Dr. Brubaker offers little true help but does stumble in at the most comedic convenient moments. Naturally this stage play is haunted by the ghost of its film version, and Ms Prutsman does an excellent job of slinking and pouting her way around Richard’s libido, but the real sexual chemistry came from Helene and tom. He was the short version of Hugh Heffner, and she was Miss May, any year you pick.

On a sweltering night this is a delightfully fluffy comedy packed with sex, guilt and farce. The set has wonderful brick work decorated with period milk bottles and anachronistic potato chip bags. There’s no blast of air from a subway gate, but the beer is cold, the women hot and the joke funny.

For more information on Theatre Downtown, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net

Fragment(ed)

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Fragment(ed)
Written and Directed by John DiDonna
Music by Todd Kimbro
Choreography by Mila Makarova
Fight Choreography by Bill Warriner
Empty Spaces Ensemble
Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando Florida

Tonight is all about love and kittens and things going from bad to worse until there’s only one way to end the relation: Rapiers at dawn. The Empty Space mob comes together tonight in torn jeans and torn hearts to act out the reality of love degrading like a bottle of organic localvor goat milk going bad when left on the counter when you went camping. It’s little “My Fair Lady” and a lot of “West Side Story” with a loose narrative based on the twelve stations of the lovers cross. Couples form and separate fluidly, the romance ebbs and then flows, and the motion ranges from classic ballet and modern dance to the very actorly blocking you might use for a short play festival. While Todd Kimbro’s music fills the air and projections screens cue the scenes, there are some interesting attacks on the issues at hand. Chris Prueitt and Cameron Gagne fight over the remote control as foreplay, Gina Makarova plays the collateral damage child swinging on a hula hoop in the rafters and Parris Baker stumbles over his own name in the pursuit of a casual pick up. Some of the dancers I’ve not seen since the last Voci event, and some actors I never knew could dance. Overall Fragment(ed) is a curious show, sometimes predictable, sometimes innovative, but always full of emotion and charged with a sexual tension. I liked the back half of the show better than the first; the descent into hell offers so many more pathways than the arrival in heaven and there’s never any sword play on a first date.

For more information on Empty Spaces Theater Company, visit http://www.emptyspacestheatre.org or search for them on Facebook

Spike Heels

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Spike Heels
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Kate Ingram
Starring Gracie Winchester
UCF Conservatory Theatre, Orlando FL

Nothing like some post-modern feminist fun in these dog days of summer. Legal secretary Georgie (Winchester) is pretty hot, she’s has a huge crush on her straight male best friend Andrew (Josh Wise). He gives great foot massages and won’t have sex with her – something about a pending marriage to Lydia (Olivia Murphy). Georgie’s boss Edward (Jason Osorio) hit on her, Andrew screams rape and harassment but Georgie feels it’s just part of the job. She hates Eddie, she tries to rape Eddie, she decides Andrew stole Lydia from Eddie, and is offended to conclude Eddie traded Lydia to Andrew for Georgie, a first round draft choice and a relief pitcher. It’s hard to keep all these shenanigans straight, especially the second act where author Rebeck tries to get every possible love-hate relation on stage, all in the service of Georgie getting out of the business of pleasing men in into the more exciting field of getting men to please her.

I loved it. It was funny and fast paced, well acted and well directed. Despite Georgie’s mercurial relation with the men in her life, she always seems grounded in a self preservation mode that allowed her to play the guys like amateurs at a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament. While Eddie was notionally the sexual predator, his goofy guyness forgave all sins and the implication that he couldn’t always deliver the goods despite his Lothario-in-a-Sharkskin-Suit image gave him some depth. Andrew was a bit doughy. Although he’s the guy out to make the world more equitable he’s more likely to blend in with Olivia’s snooty Beacon Hill set despite his politics.

I see this as a feminist play because Rebeck puts words in men’s mouths I have trouble imagining them saying in real life: Andrew tells Georgie “we need to talk about this” and both Andrew and Eddie keep asking “How does that make you feel?” heck, they even ask it of each other. And while the story is set in Boston with cool back lit cityscapes to set the mood, Rebeck keeps getting Georgie stuck in “The Subway.” Last time I checked they had a different name for the MTA up there. Despite these nits, this is a fun way to spend a toasty evening, and you may even see yourself in this tangled web although your loves probably weren’t as complicated. Or maybe they were worse.

For more information on UCF Conservatory Theatre, visit http://www.theatre.ucf.edu