Sunday, May 29, 2016

21 Chump Street at the Fringe.


Located in the round patrons room (Purple venue) in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (810 Rollins Street Orlando FL), 21 Chump Street written by Lin-Manuel Miranda creator of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In The Heights’, turned out to be a high energy musical about being entrapped by love.  The show is based on a new report on NPR’s This American Life. A male high schooler falls desperately in love with an undercover cop. He would do anything to win her affection and a though he doesn't use drugs, when she asks him to get her a fix, he asks everyone how to get the drugs she wants.  He doesn't want her money he wants her love. She can't convict him unless he takes the money. She sealed the deal with a kiss and slipped the money in his hand. Frozen and elated he couldn't refuse.

Was the undercover agent just doing her job or did she arrest and convict an otherwise good kid? The music was edgy and hip. Short and sweet, this could be fleshed out to become an amazing show. It was well worth the admission price.

Venue: Purple | Length: 15 Min
Price: $7 (Disc: FA)
Rating: 13 & Up – Language

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sugar Cash Kids and the Forgotten Island at Fringe.


I had sketched a Sugar Crash Kids and the Forgotten Island rehearsal, so I knew this was going to be a fun show. Blue glowing orbs sat on the stage as the audience entered the theater. I took a seat in what I call the Lincoln booth. Seth Kubersky and Genevieve Bernard joined me. Dancers tumbled and somersault on to the stage, to interact with the glowing orbs. The show opened with an inspiring song in which a young woman (Mary Hannah Butler) yearned to overcome her fears and sour into the world of the imagination. as the song reached its pinnacle, she soared on the wings of an eagle. The story was cut short when young Mei (Kennedy Mason) yelled at her father (Bert Rodriguez) to stop telling the story. She was too old for such fairy tales. She only wanted to hear about what is real and can be touched. It had all been a bedtime story. Her father left, but left the book behind.

When she fell asleep, the bed transformed into a doorway to another world. A child in the audience whispered "Whoah!" And adults in the audience laughed in appreciation for his sense of wonder. Dancers played with Mei making sounds in the dark to startle her.  She was finally greeted by a member of the ensemble (Cole Nesmith) who sang a rousing song titled "You are here!" Where is here, you might ask, "Well, here of course." Mei was in a tropical forest and to find her way back home she had to consult with a robot. It had been inactive for years since the forest sprites didn't know how to activate him. " Did you try tuning it on?" Mai asked. She pressed a button and the robot, named Boltz (Gregory Coleman) booted up sounding like an old Apple computer.

The bed transformed into a pirate ship, and it took Mai and Boltz on a magical voyage. The once cynical Mai now imagined magical creatures inhabiting the sea. She was finally swept away in the world of the imagination. On the lawn of fabulousness I was asked if an adult should see this show. I answered yes. If you have an ounce of  imaginative shirt left in your soul, then you will love this show. The songs are well written by Joshua Pearson, and Jeremiah Dunlap. I find myself humming them even now. The audience stood and cheered. I whistled since I was still scribbling away.

I bet that this show will become a patrons pick and get an encore performance. If so, don't miss it!


Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Fringe Picks for May 28th and 29th.

Saturday May 28, 2016 
5:45pm to 6:45pm A Long Time Ago: The Eighties Strike Back. Orange Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. The show is a retelling of the Original Star Wars Trilogy blended with the Neon-nougat center of the 1980's. Classic characters are skewered by 80's archetypes and all the moments are captured in 80's song parodies. Relive the only three Star Wars movies in a whole new way.

6:15pm to 6:30pm $10. 21 Chump Street: The Musical. Purple Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. A high schooler falls in love with an undercover cop. 21 Chump St. An action packed, 15 minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Creator of 'Hamilton' and 'In The Heights' and from NPR's This American Life.

10pm to 11:30pm $11. Joe's NYC Bar. St. Matthew's Tavern at the Orlando Beer Garden
1300 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803. Joe's NYC Bar is thrilled to return for the 25th Anniversary of the festival and our 6th year of being a part of the Orlando Fringe. This year we will clear 40 performances during Fringe (2001-04, 15-16) and our 100th performance of the show over all. During our run, over 150 of Orlando's finest musicians, painters and actors have made Joe's their home.

Sunday May 29, 2016
7pm to 7:15pm Donation. Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales. Jamie Mikens theater (a closet) John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803.  Creepy true stories of the American Presidency told to you by puppets. Held in an dark intimate theater filled with the macabre. It’s the stories you wish they would have taught you in school.

7pm to 8pm $10. Douchbags. Yellow Theater in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. Step inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males as we explore the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships, "Douchebags" is sure to raise eyebrows and bring the laughs.

9:30pm to 10:30pm $11. Phantasmagoria: Wickeder Little Tales. Orange Venue. John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. This show thunders into the Fringe  with its evocative, haunting and whimsical tales of horror, “Phantastical” dance, music, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry and enthralling storytelling. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Triassic Paraq features singing Dinosaurs.


Triassic Parq roars into the Brown venue inside the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. This is a music or about Dinosaurs. There are two dinosaur musicals at Fringe the year, so don't mistake Triassic Parq for Dino World. All of the dinosaurs in Triassic Parq are female to avoid breeding. One dinosaur however grows a large limb between her legs. Prior to the rehearsal, [ was
with the cast in the parking lot and overheard y actress say, " Does this deck be make my as look big?" This is a question you you might only hear at Fringe. It was hilarious watching y actress trying to navigate h way around the stage. If you sit in the front row you are very likely going to get slapped be it. To get close to another actress, she had to sling it over her shoulder.

This musical has plenty of energy and in the intimate venue, the actors did it need to wear mics. During the rehearsal they went over the choreography of severe numbers with Crysta Marie, before doing a full run through of the show. The dinosaurs live an insular life that sanctions new going beyond the fence. The lead dinosaur character wears your pie striped pants while his parents wear blue and red stripped pants. Mix blue and red and you get purple, get it?   A funny musical meditation on faith, science, and love. This show is well worth seeing.

Venue: Brown | Length: 90 Min
Price: $10 (Disc: FA)
Rating: 18 and up – Language, Strong Sexual Content
Remaining shows: 
May 28, 1pm to 2:30 pm
May 29, 11am to 2:30pm

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at Fringe.

Jeff Ferree presents Assassinations and Other Macabre Tales at the Orlando Fringe Festival. This 15 minute show is located in the most intimate venue at the Fringe. It is located in closet near the volunteer staging area in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Hanging from the ceiling are tortured presidential heads shot through wit arrows. The blue curtains lining the space along with a presidential seal, are reminiscent of a White House press conference.

The program describes the show as, "Creepy true stories of the American Presidency told to you by puppets. Held in a dark intimate theater filled with the macabre. It’s the stories you wish they would have taught you in school."

The two primary puppets are male and female Native American corpses. They are incredibly believable as decomposed mummies. The story centers around Curse of Tippecanoe an Indian Curse that has caused an American President elected or re-elected in the last 100 years, Every U.S. President elected in 20-Year Intervals Has Died In Office. Among those affected were from William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840), Abraham Lincoln (elected in 1860),  James Garfield (elected in 1880), William McKinley (elected in 1900), Warren G. Harding (elected in 1920), Franklin D. Roosevelt (elected in 1940), through John F. Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was wounded by gunshot but survived and George W. Bush (2000) survived an attempt on his life unharmed.

When a hanging was mentioned a tiny rag doll with a tiny penis fell over the stage and hung in the glow of a red Christmas light. there were other multi media effects that shocked the packed in audience (up to 13 people can cram into the closet). This was the first Fringe show for one volunteer crammed into the venue along with me. Be sure to find the closet and, experience the horror for yourself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Douch Bags brings testosterone fueled date rage to the stage at Fringe.


Douchbags, Produced and Directed by Adam McCabe steps inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males, exploring the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships. Three guys meet at a bar. One has just lost his high school sweetheart to a neanderthal that looks like a shark. One guy, dressed like a yuppie convinces the jilted youth that his life has just started, that he can play the field. He has a line for every woman and is convinced he can sleep with them all. Another guy is the moral sounding board of reason. He talks of the virtue of finding on woman to wake up with every day.

Much of the dialog is filled with rage filled hate for the women who wronged them. The yuppie claims he slept with the barmaid in the bathroom, and the jilted youth considers him a idol while the other guy is disgusted. It turns out that the moral sounding board hasn't slept with his partner in a very long time. The Yuppie had just lost his mom. All three of them are emotional wrecks without solid heart felt relationships. As the three guys get ready to go their separate ways, they realize that they don't even know each others names.

Since my life is less than perfect, the show resonated with me. I heard that women in the audience were less pleased. It is clear the show is taking chances when there are two polar opposite reactions.  I loved the gritty offensiveness of the show.

Venue: Yellow in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL
Length: 60 Min
Tickets: $10 (Disc: FA|FV)
Rating: 18 & Up – Language, Offensive Humor, Adult Themes
Remaining show times:
May 24,  10:45pm - 11:45pm
May 26,  8:30pm - 9:30pm
May 28,  11:59 pm - 1pm
May 29,  7:00pm - 8:00pm

Monday, May 23, 2016

Space will have an amazing set and costumes.


Local playwright Cory Volence wrote Space which is being presented at this years Orlando International Fringe Festival  by Hubris Theater Company from Brooklyn New York.  On the edge of the universe, in the darkest corner of our galaxy, four people will discover that the space between love and hate is as thin as a razor and twice as sharp. This dark science fiction drama follows the crew of a ship bound for a distant planet as they slowly realize that the only thing more dangerous than space is each other.

Evan Miga was working hard on a space suit for the show in the weeks before the show opens. He covered the actor in duct tape and pealed it off which gave him a mold the exact size of the actors body on which to build the suit. He fabricated it first in cardboard and then the pieces would be laser cut out of sheets of foam that were hanging on the garage wall. The show probably has the most sophisticated set at this year's Fringe. The space ship consoles have illuminated dials and keypads. All the pieces are modular fitting together quickly with slots and groves. Everything when disassembled fits neatly in the back of Evans smart car. The set pieces were designed in the computer and then cut by a robotic arm at FACTURE  (520 Virginia Drive Orlando FL) a non-profit maker space here in Orlando.

After designing one leg of the space suit, Evan explained that he could replicate what he had done in the computer for the other leg. The suit will also incorporate glowing electronic pieces reminiscent of Tron. He then went on to design a space boot. He build the boot out of cardboard around a black leather boot. He was a bit concerned because he was using his own boot and the actors feet were bigger. He needed a size 12 which just happened to be my shoe size. I gave him one of my hiking boots to check if the sole of the space boot was big enough. It was. The tricky part of the boot design was to allow for the boot to deform when the foot rolled during a walk. Trial and error resulted in multiple attempts with the cardboard boot breaking apart rather than deforming. In the end, he found a design that worked.

Evan explained that the crew of the ship were on a 15 year mission to travel to another planed and set up a terra form device that would bring life to the new world. Being together for 15 years can challenge any relationship so the crew begin to get on each others nerves. It is a great concept and I suspect this will be one of the best shows at the Fringe this year. I can't wait to see it. These shows will sell out These shows will sell out.

Tickets are $10. Brown venue in the Orlando Shakespeare Center 812 E. Rollins Street Orlando FL.
Remaining show dates:
May 24,  7:15pm - 8:15pm
May 26,  11:15pm - 12:15pm
May 27,  11:15pm - 12:15pm
May 28,  8:45pm - 9:45pm
May 29,  7:00 pm - 9:00pm

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Living room Theater takes the Fringe Festival by storm.


Living room Theater has 13 performances at this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. As the title suggests, they happen in a living room at 1314 Chichester St, Orlando, FL, a few blocks north of all the main action at Lock Haven Park. When I arrived, there were a few people waiting on the porch. Matt Palm who writes for the Orlando Sentinel pointed out that the paper's obit section is usually a couple of columns long, but for the past few weeks it has run on for several pages. He guessed that perhaps people just couldn't face another hot Orlando summer. Another person joked that perhaps they just couldn't face yet another Fringe festival.

The living room is large and spacious. It had once been used as a ballroom in the homes early days. Banks Helfrich walked back to the green room with a cup of water. His wife wondered why they weren't out socializing with people like they usually do. Perhaps since this was Fringe, they wanted to maintain the theatrical fourth wall. I have sketched several Living room theater performances in people's homes and every performance has always been different. Tisse Mallon, Banks Helfrich and Jack Graham have created an immersive theater experience that fosters community while focusing on fun, connection and authenticity. The show consists of a series of short vignettes that are both serious and absurd.

Banks came out holding an orange checkered shirt and he handed it to a woman seated in the front row. Matt Palm tapped me on my shoulder and whispered to me, that's my shirt. Sure enough, he was wearing the exact same shirt. Was this theatrical magic, or just coincidence? Jack performed a solo on his acoustic guitar. After his performance, birds chirped to mark the transition to the next scene. This chirping gave the scenes a sense of being part of a timeless ongoing tapestry of human interaction. The next scene had Banks and Tisse both texting on their phones. They sat down beside each other, both focused on their phones and it gradually became apparent that they were texting each other. Tisse leaned against Banks and they intertwined while the text conversation grew tense. Tisse finally just decided to call, But, Banks couldn't bring himself to pick up. This hilarious scene pointed out how we grow further apart as we embrace technology rather than each other. Since every performance is different, you r experience will be unique. I can say that you can expect surprise, wonder and honesty of emotions as the cast interests. Each scene is just a sentence written on a sheet of paper.  The scene then unfolds, being mostly improvised.

Tickets are $10
Remaining Living room theater performances:
May 22,  5pm - 6:10pm and 8pm to 9:10pm
May 26,  7:30pm - 8:40pm
May 27,  6:30pm - 7:40pm and 8:30pm - 9:40pm
May 28,  5pm - 6:10pm and 8pm - 9:10pm




Saturday, May 21, 2016

Phantasmagoria brings horrific tales to the Orlando Fringe.


Phantasmagoria: Wicked Little Tales fills the Fringe Orange venue at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center, (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL) with horrific whimsical tales of horror, Phantastical dance, music, stage combat, large scale puppetry and storytelling. Before a complete run through of the show, actors practiced a sword fight that they had just learned the day before. The swords were real, so there was a true there a of danger as they parried.  Other actors on the stage had to be warned to stand clear. Though rehearsed at quarter speed, the adrenaline still pumps an they had to b coached to slow down.

The show commence with a grand flair. The whole acting troop crouched around the ring master as he enticed the audience to listen in with a grand flourish. Once a story begins it must be told until it is finished. The tales come to life and the horrors pose a real threat to the tellers. The first tale was one of my favorites, The Tell Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. To recreate the hideous beating heart, the entire (2 beat their palms on the stage floor creating a deafening thump.

Another memory tale was of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Two dancers acted as the horse with grace and style. Actors and actresses would more into the audience during the telling of a tale, and you never knew if a sinister laugh might ring behind you, sending chills down your spine.

Mary Shelly's Frankenstein brought to life a giant skeletal figure that threatened it's creator. The creature demanded a bride and when that hope was gone the monster turned on his creator and master. Love lost is the most horrific motivator for murder.

It was good to see this at in troupe in such a large venue. With so many act of and actresses, they easily utilize every inch of the deep space. If you have a taste for the macabre then Phantasmagoria is the show for you.

Phantasmagoria shows are on May 21, 22, 28 and 29.
Tickets are $11.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekend Top 6 Fringe Picks for May 21st and 22nd.

Saturday May 21, 2016 
Noon to 1pm $11 Plus a Fringe button $10 good for all shows.  Phantasmagoria: Wicked Little Tales. Orange Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL.    The show thunders into the Fringe with its evocative, haunting and whimsical tales of horror, Phantastical dance, music, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry and enthralling storytelling.

5pm to 6:10pm $11 Livingroom Theater. Pergande home, 1314 Chichester St Orlando, FL Paths of absurdity, raw truth and love intersect as Bear, Otter and Dog invite you into a living room to share vignettes reflecting on our humanity. Through pensive to comical conversations, experimental performance pieces and live instrumentals a story emerges. “A primal, playful joy in the moment…” – analogartistdigitalworld.com

7pm to 7:15 pm $721 Chump Street. Purple venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL.  A high schooler falls in love with an undercover cop. 21 Chump St. An action packed, 15 minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Creator of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In The Heights’ and from NPR’s This American Life.

Sunday May 22, 2016 
12:45pm to 1:45pm $10 A long Time Ago: The 80s Strike Back. Orange Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. The show is a retelling of the Original Star Wars Trilogy blended with the Neon-nougat center of the 1980's. Classic characters are skewered by 80's archetypes and all the moments are captured in 80's song parodies. Relive the only three Star Wars movies in a whole new way.

3:30pm to 4:10pm $10. O.K.: Physicality of Mentality. Pink Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. Close to 1 in 5 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health issue, yet the subject remains taboo. In effort to raise awareness and encourage understanding, members of Red Right Return delve into their personal experiences with mental illness. Through contemporary dance and spoken word, “O.K.: physicality of mentality” offers audiences glimpses into life with depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction.

10:30pm to 11:30pm $10. Douchbags. Yellow Venue in the Shakespeare Theater 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. The show is a bold new powerhouse production with bravado to spare: Step inside the cringe-worthy lives of three American males as we explore the inner-workings of the 21st century douchebag in their native habitat. A shocking commentary on modern relationships, "Douchebags" is sure to raise eyebrows and bring the laughs.