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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for May, 2015

The Great God Pan

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Great God Pan
By Amy Herzog
Directed by Nathan Jones
Starring Thomas Rivera, Bridget Lindsey Morris, and BeeJay Aubertin Clinton
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL

It’s a hot mess of misery and confusion on this small stage. Jamie (Rivera) may not be happy, but he’s focused on his marriage until a long lost childhood friend Frank Clinton) appears with the astonishing news Jamie may have been abused. The culprit was Frank’s father, and Frank is filing charges against his dear old dad. Can Jamie add anything to the case? Meanwhile, back at the ranch Jaimie’s wife Paige (Morris) reports pregnancy as her biological clock ticks off the nanoseconds to 30. Should she stay with Janie or should she go? Or should poor little Fetus Child take a fall for this shaky marriage? As Jamie polls people as to what happened, the concern dwindles. Paige counsels anorexic and unstable Joelle (Allie Novell) while Jamie’s mom (Traci McGough) acts strangely disinterested about the charges. Jamie’s dad (Larry Stallings) is even farther away, he’s discovered Yoga and might even learn some Sanskrit. It takes a mighty sexy yoga instructor to get a man to learn Sanskrit. .

While nothing resolves in a satisfying manner, Mr. Rivera generates sincere anger and we are all left with the thought that maybe all of this was only on Frank’s head. Ms. McGough was the creepiest; she might have been covering up, she might have been denying, or she might have blanked the bad memories and wanted to just get back to her book club. While I though Ms. Novell was the strongest on-stage presence, she also had the weakest role. She existed simply to show how nice Paige was. The remaining character Polly (Tiffany Ortiz) babysat way back when, here she is elderly and forgetful which may be Herzog’s ultimate theme – time may heal wounds; but it does so by forgetting them or at least averaging them out over the rest of your life. The story ends abruptly, and it feels like an act or scene is missing to resolve this pile of woe. Maybe there was abuse, maybe there wasn’t. Maybe there was and time has mercifully buried it. Maybe an interfamily legal battle with 27 year old hearsay evidence is need to feed the lawyers or blackmail the unseen Frank. I can’t tell from the script.

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

The Fringe Omnibus 4

Sunday, May 24th, 2015


The Fringe Omnibus 4
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

The “Dinner and a Show” Show (Blue Venue)
I loved it when these guys juggled. And when they weren’t juggling, I wished they were.

Anne Frankenstein (Orange Venue) amazingly, this show is offensive to both Jews AND Nazis. Not one person in the audience thought Heindrich von Arschloch was a funny name.

The Tricky Part by Martin Moran (Blue Venue) John Palmer performs a dense and troubling monolog about a man abused as a child confronting his molester. The Catholic Church is involved and the ending is VERY ambiguous.

Sex Drugs Rock & Roll (Pink Venue) Orlando expatriate David Lee performs series of monologs about the Male Experience. The focus is on those with money, those with access to drugs and those who are at the bottom of the rung for all of the above reasons.

A MidAutumn Night’s Dream (Pink Venue) A brilliant mix of modern dance and ballet set to Led Zeppelin and Billy Idol retells Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I known about this earlier, I would have seen it twice.

TJ’s Kitchen: “The Power of Ignorance” (Yellow Venue) Story teller Dawe reads a monologue about a fake self-help group. Funny and more sarcastic than his typical performance, it could stand a bit of trimming.

Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Giant English Windmills! (Purple Venue)
Hiroshi Shimizu found the Avant Garde acting life a path to starvation so he redirected his efforts to English as a Second Language Standup Comedy. The very fact he tries, never mind succeeds, makes it worth seeing this totally bizarre act.

Bikini Advertising Space Apply paint to the naughty bits of a Real Live Girl, and in public no less. Finger painting not encouraged.

And…scene…

The Fringe Omnibus 3

Friday, May 22nd, 2015


The Fringe Omnibus 3
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

And batting clean up…

Streisand: The Greatest Star- -Like BUTTAH! (Gold Venue) Skilled local vocalist Carla DelVillaggio channels the still living Barbara with videos, vocals, and a persustant sound problem. You can dance on stage if you want.

Jaws: The Movie: The Musical (Green Venue) As shows with colons in the title, this oen is more sucessful than most. The music is generally sucessful , the plot no more rediculaous than the title sugessts. Laurens Anderson was the best looking, and Jarrette Poore the best dancer.

Uncouth (Pink Venue) Windy Wynazz offers us some clever clowning with sexual overtones. Highlight of the show involves a pinwheel attached to her crotch; a hapless audience member blows on it to make it spin. Rule 34 in action.

TJ’s Kitchen (Yellow Venue) Circuit favorite T.J. Dawe is back, this time doing seven different monologue. I caught one about his teen age years blowing stuff up and how he drifted into theatrical success while his buddies became white trash losers. Then he talks about breathing exercises designed to make you hallucinate. This guy is always cool.

Around The World in 80 Years (Blue Venue) Just because you are gray and wrinkled doesn’t mean your sex drive is done. D’Yan Forest strokes her ukulele and talks about her floozy lifestyle. It’s like “Letters to Penthouse” answered by your grandmother.

It’s A Trap! (Shakespeare Courtyard)
Pay a buck and you have three minutes to solve a puzzle. The puzzle is trivial; shifting your brain to the new environment is a challenge.

Hop Frog (Bronze Venue) John Devennie tells a gripping story of vengeance and dance in this one man Edgar Allan Poe piece. Plus there’s a drawing for a Snickers Bar.

Rap Guide To Religion (Gold Venue) The rapping is weak but the message is fascination: There is a biological benefit to religion. Serious. The rap gimmick is forced and the charts hard to read, but this is one thought provoking show.

Jonesie Takes New York (St. Matthews Tavern)

Sara Jones sings diva cabaret with a real deal backstory. She hits the high notes and sings the low notes of her love life in a superb dive bar setting.

Joes NYC Bar (St. Matthews Tavern) I covered this show recently; but tonight the talk was all about love and marriage. Christian Kelty and his team pour the drinks and controversy stiff and strong.

Moonlight After Midnight (Green Venue) Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesenelle present an intricate combination of failing romance and the supernatural. Stick with this one, it starts slow.

Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge (Brown Venue) Sit down comedy based on classical music and one of the biggest comedians of the mid-20th century. This guy broke his leg to get here, the least you can do is laugh at him.

Once I Laughed (Yellow Venue) Andrews Sisters biography and reviews. The girls are cute the songs are hits, and story totally lovable.

The PeeVira Chronicles: Wedding Whorrer Story (Red Venue) Drag lip syncing mixed with the comedy stylings of Josephina (Sheli Nathan-Miller) and an incoherent story about a wedding. Positives: the sound is well mixed. Negatives: They make you get up and dance.

The Fringe Omnibus 2

Thursday, May 21st, 2015


The Fringe Omnibus 2
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

We are nearly done, or at least I am. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Exclusion Zone (Yellow Venue) Martin Dockery travels to the Chernobyl reactor and gets within 100 yards of the core. Neither radiation or warfare or explosive diarrhea will stop this man from telling a story.

Cajones (Orange Venue) Various Fringe artist “Do things they never would”. Basically they do whatever it is they normally do, just drunker and less accurately.

Dumpster Cats (Silver Venue) The script is as messy as the stage in this occasionally charming musical. Main reason to see it: Brandon Roberts sings.

Dance in The Graveyard (Red Venue) I call this a “Honey, we’re dead!” play. Two men have to figure out the afterlife with its crazy and malleable rules as Jean Paul Sartre rolls over in his grave.

Kiss Around Pass Around (Bronze Venue) More Japanese weirdness from everybody’s favorite anti-kabuki actress Yanomi Shoshinz. Your shoes are in danger.

Hoodies (Silver Venue) A touching domestic tragedy surrounds an in-your-face political message compete with sad faced actors holding up posters. One of the rare times Stephen Lima is intimidated on stage.

God Is a Scottish Drag Queen 3(Silver Venue) God loses his edge, not as funny as last year. Bu we enjoyed singing “I’m Gonna Be.”

The Stimulators (Brown Venue.) This medical “thriller” was written with a 2 by 4 and may be the most inelegant script I’ve ever seen staged. The nudity was a tease but will never make up for this pain.

Grim and Fischer (Silver Venue) Masters of mime and mask tell a tale of love, death and flatulence in this touching and funny reflection on death and mortality.

The Fringe Omnibus 1

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015


The Fringe 1
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

There are more shows than then I can keep up with, so here are some Social Media length comments on the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Red Necks vs. Darwin (Pink Venue) I’ll just post two fair use quotes: ” ‘Hillbilly’ is a life style. ‘Redneck’ “is a way of thought.” And “If you’re against f*ckign a bird house, you’re against America.” Discuss.

Preshow Announcement (Orange, Purple, Blue, Yellow, Brown, Bronze, Gold, Silver, Green Venue) Better. MUCH better.

Preshow Announcement (Black Venue) Fingernails on a chalk board with extra annoyance sauce. Plumbs the depths of Unfunnyville.

Massage A Trois (Blue Venue) Saw it at “Play de Luna,” but now with Janine Klein

Poe (Green Venue) Exceptional retelling of the “Edgar Allen Poe” story with Chris Pruett as Poe. Frank Hilgenberg lurks in back, jonesing to do a curtain speech.

Clink (Orange Venue) A man does horizontal pull ups 20 feet off the floor. Then Brandon Roberts makes you laugh.

1969: Stone WallWe learn it used to be illegal to sell alcohol to homosexuals in New York. But is the kid (NAME) that stole the show.

Robyn The Hood Orange Venue. More white people doing rap, this time with a token black guy on stage. Loved the horse gag!

Psychotherapy: The Musical (Yellow) Loved the concept. Loved the players. Loved the lyrics. But the music was completely forgettable

Scattered Chandeliers (Black Venue) “Phantom of the Opera” redone with modern pop tunes, constant motion, and overly loud sound. But Willy Marchante is a whirling dervish of a phantom.

Shadows And Light (Yellow venue) Beautiful modern dance with surprising magic that’s some of the best in the Festival.

Egg Tooth (Bronze) These guys are masters of the six word novel. Example: “For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn.” Plus they live the “Office Space” life style on stage.

A Road Less Graveled. (Red venue) Ultra nice Newfoundland native tell us about pooping in a bucket as she nearly freezes to death north of the 51st parallel.

Peter n’ Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel (Pink Venue) Long form sketch Scooby Doo parody with weird sexual undertones. Generates huge laughs, many uncomfortable.

Remy Connor – A Magician’s Story (Pink Venue) Magicians always say “I like to do it differently”, but hat all use the same card forces. The illusions were standard, but he can do some truly amazing things with his thumb, and if you sit up front you may get a free drink.

More to come…

Dark Wood

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015


Dark Wood
By Peter McGarry
Directed by Winnie Wenglewick
Brown Venue
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

Get three of your most intellectual friends. Go to this show. Drink heavily, then discuss. True, everyone is naked for the whole show but ignore that, it’s no “hot bodies” show. Instead, this story dives deeply into the human condition. The nudity will sell seats, but the butts in those seats have to do some thinking to do. Rico (Cody Dermon) and Strong Arm (Johnathan Susser) were born in captivity; their world is proscribed and mysteriously automatic: food arrives, poop disappears, and sex is at the sole discretion of the zoo keeper. Newcomer Mbwane (Taylor Pappis) was captured in the wild. There he led a tribe, found food, mated at will, and had a code of honor: win a fight, and give the loser a chance to concede and flee. The trio agues which way is better until a mysterious explosion lights the sky, stopping everything. The food stops, the people stop and their world is frozen. Escape was always an option, and now it seems like a good excuse of an adventure. But the outside world is little better even as a new life arises: Strong Arm is mentally stuck in his cage, Mbwane realizes things are much worse than he thought, but Rico finds his proper ecological niche.

There room for argument and interpretation in a multilayered play like this, and while the nudity is provocative it’s not essential. What is essential is seeing ourselves in miniature: we have incomplete models of our world whether we live in Conche, Newfoundland or the Large Hadron Collider. We adapt to these worlds, and build little internal models that help us through the day. But they are never complete, and “life changing events” are what show us those flaws. Death of a loved one, serious injury, or nuclear holocaust all force us to reconsider and painfully fear the future and fondly recall the past. We also see that answer often lie in plain sight: Rico knew how to escape for ages; it just never became an issue. Don’t like those arguments? Great. Let’s grab another beer and you talk for a while.

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Acrobat

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Acrobat
With Christian Kelty
Black Venue
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

Local artist and roustabout Christian Kelty takes us into a spoken word version of his life and it could be open mike night at any coffee house in town. “My Crystal Ball” opens the show with a free style rant and then it’s off to “My Experience at the Kabuki Drive In Theatre” with its hallucinatory reflection on a shaving cut. Next he relates extensive preparations for a 4th of July celebration, the ribs and corn and slaw is intended for his dying wife instead feed at hospital floor, but they do get fireworks. Birth and death, highs and lows, his show combines “Parenthood” and “Trainspotting.” His journey is worth your journey down to the lonely Black Venue.

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Butt Kapinski

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Butt Kapinski
Kapinski Enterprises
Blue Venue
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

This venue looks like its violating fire codes – instead of putting all the chairs in neat rows in the Blue Venue they are spread everywhere making movement a struggle. Kapinski is a hard-boiled detective with her own portable interrogation light, and she needs it in this dark, dark place called “Fringeytown.” The story is what you’d expect: murder and suspects, double crosses and red herrings, but most of the show is acted by a fully engaged audience. Some people play victims, some cops. A woman with scat skills gets drafted to hum theme music, I played a battered wife but I had to batter myself. Kapinski generates peals of laughter and there’s that rare chemistry between audience and actor wherein we end up doing most of the heavy comedy lifting. She ends the show with a surprise NC-17 ending; none of us saw that one coming. Grab a chair, take a role: none of them are embarrassing and we all pull together in this show.

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Cosmolyrical

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Cosmolyrical
With Phil Long
Black Venue
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

Debating religion or politics often comes around to “truth”, but there really isn’t a good definition of this innocent and ubiquitous term. Mr. Long brings it up repeated in this rambling and occasionally coherent monolog about physics and religion. He is amazed by things like quantum theory and astrophysics, he seems erudite and educated, and he has the vocal skills of a really charismatic Youth Minister from any large fundamentalist church. In other words, I want to believe him if only I knew what he’s asking me to believe. His story make multiple references to Christian concepts like creation and Judgement Day and the trinity and resurrection, but it’s a white label faith that glosses over the schisms and fine points that split families and start wars. Long’s message seems to be: Since modern physics produces counterintuitive observations and Christianity is full of counter intuitive ideas, they both rely on an element of blind faith. Ergo, they must be compatible! Post hoc ergo propter hoc! Good thing there wasn’t a collection plate at this service; I would have stolen a nickel from it just on principle.

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Judy Garland

Sunday, May 17th, 2015


Judy Garland
With Mark Baratellli
Orange Venue
Orlando Fringe Festival
Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL

Tonight Mr. Baratelli sobers up his Judy Garland Act for another year. But Judy’s attention span is dropping, so she’s only on stage for 30 minutes making it easy to slip this show in between the circus acts and the foam party in the men’s room. Judy is still a great entertainer; she’s just on the back slope of a career. The pills and eye makeup are so easy to mix up and it appears a raccoon has humped her makeup table. Her old days of elegant dress are a memory; tonight her blouse looks like it came from a date she had with Billy Joel at an Italian restaurant. While you may have seen her before tonight as special. An aggressive heckler attacked from 10 o’clock high in the side seats; this older woman was persistent and seemed to be speaking in tongues. But Judy is a trouper and kept control of the stage, made us laughs and made the young people exclaim: “Judy WHO?”

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.