Today we review seven more plays: Clowns, Goddesses & Tough Guys, The God Particle Complex, Ghost Light, pool (no water), Tales of Extraordinary, Eggshell and Mission to Mate. Come back tomorrow for more reviews.
by Tracey Paleo ~
Sometimes you just feel like breaking into song, but not the Broadway music kind< although it sort of sounds like it, but the kind that bursts out of you to explain overwhelming emotions that mere words cannot express – spontaneously – on purpose.
In Clowns, Goddesses & Tough Guys a monologue that aptly refers to actors such as Groucho Marx, Mae West and Glen Ford, that a young 12 year old (writer/producer) James Schneider pursues literally door to door for ‘signed photographs’, Mr. Schneider presents a hilarious, updated version of his long standing musical solo act, a true story which deals with heroes, loss and how to deal with it all.
After losing his mother to cancer and experiencing the delay in receiving his collectible President Nixon plastic toy, Schneider is brought out to visit LA (several times) and goes on an unparalleled, Map of the Stars journey filled with Orange Julius french fries and Hollywood Hills visits, requesting and receiving the most curious handwritten messages from the players of the Silver Screen’s Golden Age until his chance meeting and an invitation to just walk around for a while and talk with his favorite cop show detective, Paul Glaser (David Starsky) of Starsky and Hutch, finally allows him to fill his void and realize his own personal rose bud.
Rough and underwritten (Mr. Schneider was in a purging mood this year and purged the script from his computer) but completely funny right down to the bread balls and old Yamaha keyboard.
Clowns, Goddesses & Tough Guys is performed at Theatre Asylum Lab on Thursday, June 14 @7:00pm, Sunday, June 17 @5:30pm, Thursday, June 21 @ 10pm, Saturday, June 23 @ 4:00pm and Sunday, June 24 @ 5:30pm
~by Brian Sonia-Wallace
The God Particle Complex made me a bit giddy. That’s one of the best compliments I can give a show. I am a big fan of science education, physical theatre, pseudoscience, time travel, body suits, conjoined twins, and the end of the world–this show had all those things in spades. This is what science fiction should be, a breakneck journey into hypotheticals that leaves you wanting to learn about the real-world science it is based on. And maybe this is silly, but I thought it was a nice touch that the program was a veritable bibliography of resources.
If I haven’t scared you off with all this science talk yet, let me assure you that this play dispenses with the fact-y stuff in short order to become a raucous, slightly nonsensical comedy in the tradition of first The Big Bang Theory and then Doctor Who. The team is mostly Actors Gang and Grand Guignolers folk, and the trademark style shows. Great literature it is not, but the play so thoroughly relishes its theatricality that you can’t help but be won over by the silliness.
The God Particle Complex is performed at Art/Works Theatre on June 16 at 10pm, June 17 at 6.30pm, and June 18 at 8pm.
by Tracey Paleo ~
“Oh, how you slay me!”
As if beer, pot, frats boys, sorority girls and a oujia board on a stormy Halloween wasn’t enough, that darn ghost had to show up and ruin everything. The Visceral Company is at it again presenting a quite literally killer show in Ghost Light written by Dan Spurgeon and directed by John B. McCormick, where four college students gather to party and give each other the creeps. But as the night progresses in the dark empty theater lit only by a single stage light said to be set for the ghosts, to either keep them away or invite them in, strange things begin to happen – and then everything goes evil.
Featuring actors, Curtiss Johns as Mike the Campus ‘golden boy’, Ross Petrarca as Josh, the dumb frat boy jock, Stacey Snyder as Kelly, the bitchy sorority girl and Stefani Davis as Julia the shy outsider, the theater itself is billed as the chief character in this performance. Campus legends aside, putting up a horror play based on a sort of Carey / Evil Dead / Friday the 13th genre has the difficulty of bringing dimension inside the four walls of a black box theatre. It was pretty scary to hear thing go suddenly bump in the pitch black, but more often hilarious even in the dread, especially when the audience receives an unexpected haunted house-like visitation. A totally fun late night divertissement.
Ghost Light is performed at the Underground Theatre on Thursday, June 14 @ 10:30pm, Friday, June 15, @10pm, Sunday, June 17 @ 10pm, Thursday, June 21 @10pm, Friday and June 22 @ 8:30pm
They speak of “her” with ambivalence. She, an artist, was once one of them but has since reached a certain level of success. She invites the old gang to her place for a pool party and then suggests some nighttime skinny dipping. She even jumps in first, not realizing that there is no water. As she lies in the hospital in a coma, the group decides, without knowing why, to photograph her recovery, all the while realizing it is wrong. When she awakes and actually enjoys the photos, they decide, again without knowing why, to destroy them.
She eventually realizes – and makes them realize – that their relationship is a pool with no water, filled only with envy and animosity masked behind art and rationalization. Furthermore, their group thought allows them to escape accountability for their actions.
Dave Barton directs this dark and edgy ensemble piece by Mark Ravenhill, which speaks in poetry and movement, accompanied by rock music and projected images. It is well choreographed (by Angela Ann Lopez and Lee Samuel Tanng), but the characters, who lack individuality or redeeming social values, are difficult to relate to.
pool (no water) is performed in the Complex’s Flight Theater June 10 at 2:00 pm, June 15 at 8:00 pm, June 16, 8:00 pm and June 17 at 2:00 pm
by Tony Bartolone~
Prepare yourself to go on an adventure so grand that your grandfather could not make up a story with any slight chance of being a split-sliver of a fraction as grand as this! This adventure could only take place in the 1920′s when hot jazz cut through cold nights, and radio was the only thing hotter!
Tales of Extraordinary is one fun time at the theater. The interactive games at work here are pure joy. Though it is a bit of a mess at times, there is an equal amount of excitement and wonder. It has an informal, improvisational feel to it. The major success of the piece is the feeling that anything could happen. And the audience participation portion of the excursion is one of the most fun and least pressured interactive theatre experiences.
Windows to Sky, who provide live music as well as some character’s voices, are a perfect fit for this live radio play. There music energizes the whole thing beyond all the fun the actors are having and adds an element of legitimacy to the whole 1920′s vibe. I have never seen people have so much fun and express so much energy while seated.
Tales of Extraordinary is performed at the Comples on June 17 & 24 at 7pm.
~by Brian Sonia-Wallace
Bizarre but enthralling, eggshell takes the audience into a world that speaks only gibberish and whose fate hangs in the balance when the giant egg that seems to control the characters’ lives cracks. The surreal world follows its own logic as characters stumble, flop, and gurgle their way through the action, mixing mime and clowning under the thrall of an almost Big Brother-like eggshell whose ominous rumbles dictate the characters’ every move. eggshell’s strength is casting everyday objects in a new light as tools for unexpected tasks and ritual items in the play’s epic finale.
However, in the beginning it wasn’t quite clear whether the rumblings and music that determined the action came from the egg or some outside source, and the actors still had some room to settle into their highly choreographed physical actions in order to make them natural and comfortable. I also felt that the play’s loose metaphorical construction could have been tied slightly tighter to reality in order to give it more of a ‘what is it all about then, eh?’ All told, though, eggshell was a thoroughly enjoyable ride into a world of quirkiness.
eggshell is sperformed at Art/Works Theatre on June 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, & 23 at 10pm.
by Tony Bartolone~
Mission to Mate is one of the most intriguing enterprises into the psychology of seduction. Sexy is a word too regular for this creative exploration of the boy-meets-girl, cat-and-mouse game.
As the characters delve into lascivious lines of diabolic dialog, themes of lustful desire and predisposed impulse are twisted, magnified and thoroughly examined. Perhaps the most suggestive play in recent memory, writer/director Colin Mitchel is careful never to overstate ideas presented on the lips of his well-drawn subjects. Alla Poberesky colors the three characters she plays with subtle, yet distinct differences. She is able to transition seamlessly from innocent to seductive to despondent while maintaining an enticing allure throughout. Michael Sanchez is so natural and believable in every moment, every movement. He is able pull sympathy from the audience like a skillful musician has the ability to make music by dragging a bow across a violin.
There is a certain incomplete feeling to this piece; a hole of some size that may be the source of its power. At points, the aforementioned gap can cause frustration, but ultimately, it leads to pensive pondering and enlightened ideas. In other words, that undefined, empty space creates a depth for the audience to think.
Mission to Mate plays June 16 & 17 at 7pm, 23 at 5:30pm and 24* at 2pm.
*The June 24 performance is at Fringe Central Mainstage.