Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Patron's Picks have been announced for the Orlando Fringe. These shows sold the most tickets in their respective venues and they get to stage one more show at the end of the festival.
Green venue: "Loon," 11 a.m. Monday May 27.
Pink venue: "The Boxer," 8 p.m. Tuesday May 28.
Purple venue: "Pillow Talk," 10 a.m. Monday May 27.
Silver venue: "Piranha The Musical," 12:15 p.m. Monday May 27.
Yellow venue: "God Is a Scottish Drag Queen," 9 p.m. Monday 27.
Jester Theater Company presents Brandon Roberts and some of Orlando’s most brilliant comedic actors and musicians in this laugh-filled silent movie onstage. A live ragtime soundtrack is provided by Blake Braswell and Anthony Riley. I love Brandon Roberts physical comedy, so I had to see The Boxer written by Matt Lyle. The play began by introducing the heroine played by Gemma Fearn. She is dressed as a man so she can get a job in depression era hard times. She is incredibly endearing from the start as she tries to imitate men's gestures. The boxer enters being beat down repeatedly. In a slow motion moment he is hit by a punch. His head snaps and he slowly spins. The expression on Gemma's face as she watches, turns from horror' to compassion' to love, all within that knockout blow that sends the boxer to the floor.
She decides to train the boxer herself. In a hilarious training montage projected on the stage backdrop, she blows soap bubbles which overwhelm the boxer sending him to the mat. Although she falls for the boxer, he treats her like any other guy. the boxer needs to win a match for his dear old mom. I don't want to give too much away. This show is as endearing as any Charlie Chaplin classic. It will melt your heart. Just go. You wild laugh till your sides hurt. The show I went to was completely sold out.
Saturday May 25 at 6:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 11:15PM
Tuesday May 28 at 8PM
Pink Venue in the Shakes
$11 plus a Fringe button
Friday, May 24, 2013
Entering the Black venue on Virginia Drive we were greeted by the music of Miss Laney Jones and her band, Bill Jickell on mandolin and Chris Campbell on upright bass. Their sweet bluegrass music wove its way through the whole show. Onomatopoeia, written by Anthony Bolante, is a bitter sweet story set in 1929. On a back lit screen, a young couple meet and fall in love in a small mid West town. The title came from a conversation the young couple had about how two words could join together to have a whole new meaning. The analogy being, that two people in love could weather any storm.
At a town celebration and dance, the boy played by Adam Scharf proposes to the girl, played by Melina Countryman, by hiding a ring in a red balloon. Their fates change when the stock market crashes sending the country into the great depression. The boy has to leave the town and his girl with hopes of finding work. The girl returns his ring saying he might need to sell it. He leaves with his possessions in a satchel on a stick and he learns how to survive as a hobo.
There are odd jobs and comic moments. The boy looses his voice and has to communicate in mime. Audience member Michael Poley was called on stage to help him stack boxes. He had to learn the boy's hand signals to comic effect. The young hobo never manages to find his fortune and ultimately returns to his home town, defeated. All the while he held on to the hope that his girl would be there when he returned. His town was situated in the dust bowl and everyone, including his girl, had suffered. She blames him for not being there when she needed him most. Dejected he leaves his satchel behind and walks away. She opens it and finds nothing but a red balloon.
The music of Laney Jones and the band really makes this show shine. I've been a fan of her music ever since I heard her play on a rainy day in a parking lot in College Park. Over a dozen songs punctuated the show. Many were written by Laney, one was by Chris Campbell and several others were by Anthony Bolante along with several classics. Elisabeth Drake-Forbes was the Music Supervisor and Producer. I drove the whole way home humming "It's Only a Paper Moon." Two thumbs up for this production. You only have one last chance to catch this show.
Saturday May 25 at 11:15PM
Black Venue, 511 Virginia Drive
$11 plus a Fringe button
Weekend Top 6 Picks
Saturday May 25th 2013
11AM - Midnight FRINGE! Both Days. http://orlandofringe.org/
Noon -- 5PM FREE: Food Truck Fiesta for People and Pets at Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S Lakemont Ave Winter Park FL 32789 Live music, great food, pet-friendly!
INFO: (407)296-5882 www.foodtruckcrazy.com
2PM - 4PM March Against Monsanto, City Hall 400 South Orange Avenue. https://www.facebook.com/notes/march-against-monsanto/mission-statement/579359972082527
10PM - Midnight FREE: FRINGE Toast Off, Outdoor tent, Lock Haven Park. Is it poetry? Is it a drinking game? Is it improv comedy? Is it some unholy human centipede of all the above? (Poetry is the 2.) Find out when host Tod Caviness gets Orlando's finest comedians (and a few Fringe favorites) drunk for your amusement on the outdoor stage at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Did we mention that it's free? We probably should. You're going to need the money for the beer tent.
Sunday May 26th 2013
9AM - 4PM Kiwi Camera Swap, Kiwi Camera Service, 18808 Kentucky Avenue Winter Park I'm pretty sure this photography thing is a passing fad. Prime sketching of photographers and their large lenses.
Noon- 2PM Broadway Brunch at Hamburger Mary's! Hot buns and Broadway tunes. Need I say more? 110 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The two minute Fringe preview for this show was hilarious. A male announcer described how utterly annoying Emily Dickinson was as she looked over her shoulder at the audience with contempt. Her nose was rubbed raw from a cold and she put lotion on her chaffed elbows. Emily was performed by Tanya O’Debra from Brooklyn NY.
Stretching that two minute joke out for the eternity of an hour was problematic. Emily was consistently annoying and reclusive. The only writing she did was of morbid condolence letters to friends and family suffering loss. Never leaving her room, she begins to fantasize about the narrator. There was one precious comic moment when she decided to let her hair down. She began removing one hair pin after another. She must have had 50 hair pins in that tight bun. Ultimately however, I was left bored. As a character, Emily didn't change in any way. I can laugh at an annoying character for a few minutes but I have no desire to watch them for an hour. I need some sort of character development if I'm to become involved. I was a bit annoyed at myself for going to the show.
Thursday May 23 at 9:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 2:30PM
Green Venue Rep Black box theater
$11 plus a Fringe Button
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Miss Hiccup performs in the Blue venue which is the Shakes black box theater. The performance was absurd and endearing. When she unrolled a whole roll of toilet paper with childish delight, she decided to ensure I was paying attention by kicking the pile of paper onto my sketch pad. She does indeed hiccup her way throughout the show. She came onstage in a crouched crab like position, I'm not sure why. In one cute bit she held a tiny umbrella, maybe twice the size of a drink umbrella over her head. The sound of water leaking would be different if it hit the umbrella. She ran about trying to have every water drop hit her umbrella. While much of the performance was mime along with physical comedy, Hiccup does also sing.
The audience at 5:15PM Friday May 17th was rather small, perhaps 10 people, but everyone could have a front row seat. I'm sure the folks expecting Chase and Paul were confused. The show is light hearted fun and quite kid friendly. As a matter of fact you need to be ready to channel your inner child to fully appreciate the show.
Wednesday May 22 at 8PM
Friday May 24 at 6:45PM
Saturday May 25 at 2:15PM
Sunday May 26 at 2:00PM
Blue Venue at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
$11 plus a Fringe Button
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
My wife Terry has joined the board of the Orlando Fringe. On the evening of the opening gala, I got her to join me to see her first show this season. We went into the Purple venue which is the round patron's room at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. The tiny stage was set up like an attic. Scott Whittemore came out from behind the black curtains with a flash light. I had to stop sketching since the house had gone black. He used his flashlight as a spot light angling it up at a stool. He began to play his ukulele.
Original music, monologues, physical storytelling, dance, ukuleles, and Christmas sweaters help tell the story of a young man seeking to reconnect with his recently departed Grandmother. The theater grew quiet as he used a Quji board to reconnect. Props found in the attic set offered entertaining sidelines into yo-yo tricks and rope lasso dancing. With nostalgia and heart Scott shared the love and respect he had for his grandmother.
The patron's room isn't a great venue because you can hear everyone in the Shakespeare hallways as they laugh and shout. The men's bathroom is also right next to the patrons room and you can imagine how that might be distracting. The intimacy of the production however separated us from the distractions. It was like being alone in the attic while downstairs a party raged. This simple heart felt production was a perfect appetizer, a sweet taste of what this year's Fringe had to offer. I highly recommend the show.
Tuesday May 21 at 5:45PM
Thursday May 23 at 6:45PM
Saturday May 25 at 1:30PM
Sunday May 26 at 9:15PM
Purple Venue (Patron's Room) at the Shakes
$11 plus a Fringe button
Monday, May 20, 2013
In a world full of technology meant to bring us together, why are we still so detached from the people around us? In dis|CONNECTED, Emotions Dance will explore the forces that cause us to disengage and the eternal ties that remain, pulling us back into relationship with one another and allowing us to connect within ourselves.
Larissa greeted me and walked me back stage before the performance. I was to walk center stage about midway through the show and two dancers would dance around me. It sounded simple enough. As I waited to go on, I sketched. The dancers only had a few minutes to stretch and warm up to perform. The venue opened and I noticed people making their way to the seats. Terry was in the audience and she reported that there were perhaps 25 people there. Fringe producer Michael Marinaccio had earlier explained that the first night of Fringe was usually the slowest. He had scheduled all local acts the first night figuring the performers could drum up an audience of friends and family via social media. The dancers lamented that it would be depressing if there were more dancers than audience members. A reviewer could be in the audience however so they needed to give it their all.
The lights blazed and the dancers were on. I could only see occasional legs and arms from my position in the wings. The black wing curtains fractured my view. Besides I was still working on the sketch of dancers stretching. The song, "Addicted to Love" came on and Larissa nudged me on stage. I walked center stage still working on my sketch. Two dancers began a high stakes cat fight over me. I raised an eyebrow shrugged and returned to my sketch as they clawed at each other and competed for attention. I heard laughter in the audience so I suspect the moment was entertaining. The dancers flew off stage still fighting leaving me still standing center stage sketching. When the lights blacked out, I walked off stage. In the wings the dancers gave me a high five.
Seeing dance from the wings is entirely different than watching as an audience member. I have a renewed sense of awe for how hard these women work. When they come off stage they are completely spent and gasping for air. They have only a few minutes to recover before they have to go right back out again. Between dance numbers dancers walked around the stage holding signs that had life affirming notes and doubts much like the woman who announces boxing rounds. One piece had audio of boxing and sports coaches talking about athletes who have to give their all and then push even further. That is standard practice for Emotions Dancers.
Monday May 20th at 8:00PM
Thursday May 23rd at 9:15PM
Friday May 24th at 11:15PM
Saturday May 25th at 12:45AM
Sunday May 26th at 2:15PM
Silver Venue at the Rep
$11 plus a Fringe Button
Sunday, May 19, 2013
On Wednesday May 15th the Fringe National / International Preview was held in the Orange Venue at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. 44 shows from out of town performers had two minutes to get patrons interested in their show. If and performer went beyond two minutes, Bikini Katie would get up and escort the performer off stage. Michael Marinaccio, Fringe's producer, and Chase Padgett hosted the event.
The first performer up was Miss Hiccup, Shoshinz from Tokyo Japan, and I placed her in the sketch. Her show is called "A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup". Her loud flower covered costume was hard to resist. Her physical comedy looks like it could be a fun show. Alexa Fitzpatrick from Aspen Colorado told us about her show called "Serving Bait to Rich People." Alexa works as a bartender at a Colorado dive in a mountain town where men outnumber women two to one. She got serious for a moment, "I'm in the middle of a break up." She paused to let that sink in. "But I'll be OK, the couple was already having trouble." I laughed out loud.
That reminds me, there was a guy seated in the front row who had the loudest guffaw of a laugh, I've ever heard. One performer commented, "I love your laugh, It's like you're hurling acceptance at me." Oddly a woman in the audience chimed in saying she hoped it would stop. Chase was very diplomatic and stressed that different people have different laughs, and at the Fringe , laughs from all walks of life are accepted. Sadly the guy seemed to have become self conscious and didn't laugh as loud or as often. Then again, seeing 44 previews in a row can wear an audience member down.
I was impressed by the performance of Qurrat Ann Kadwani from NYC. First off she lamented that her parents gave her a name that no one could pronounce. I can identify with that. She switched characters often as she talked about what it was like growing up Indian in the Bronx. I circled "They Call me Q" in my program. Jason Nettle educated us about Fetishes. He said Bronnies and Clappers are individuals who get off on "My Little Pony." He said he could explain why Michael keeps asking George for a Blimpkin. I obviously have much to learn, so I circled "Fetish" in my program.
Patrick Combs got one of those fake checks from publishers Clearing House for $95,000 dollars. He thought it would be funny to deposit it at his bank signed with a smiley face. He forgot about it and later discovered that his Bank (Bank of America) had cashed the check and he was $100,000 richer. When he went to the bank to straighten things out he was greeted by armed gun men in black suits. His two minutes were up at the mic, and the audience all went awww. Because we all wanted to know what happened next. Bikini Katie walked him off stage with "Man 1, Bank O" written on her thighs.
Chase Padgett and Paul Strickland teamed up to do a guitar duo. They made up lyrics on the fly and Chase came up with lyrics about laughter that tied into the evenings ongoing theme. I circled, "Chase and Paul: Solo Shows are Hard". Gemma Wilcox from London took us for a ride in her "Magical Mystery Detour". She played a dog, a driver and a motorcycle side car, switching between characters in an instant. I suspect this show is a must see, although she moves so fast and so often, she might be hard to sketch.. "Little Pussy" by John Grady isn't about Sex, but about a little kitten named faith that he rescued from sprawling LA traffic. Martin Dockery is a master storyteller. I saw him last year and recognized his frenetic energy. I definitely want to see "The Dark Fantastic".
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I decided to go to BART, an arcade and bar on Mills Avenue that I have never been to before. Chan Sterling was checking his portable microphone and speaker. It was tinny but would have to do. Lead by Ruby Darling, Skill Focus Burlesque Dancers arrived and sat in the cushy lounge seating. The entire cast of Jet Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe arrived all at once. They were all in their intergalactic costumes. There were photo opportunities of Jett and his crew playing video games.
Earth Girls are Easy was on the wide screen TV but music drowned the sound track. Paintings by Parker Sketch had just been hung earlier in the day. Parker arrived with a few friends and he let me know that several of the smaller pieces had already sold. A woman asked me if I was the Painter, Sketcher who was on the poster. I didn't know what she meant at first, but finally realized she was referring to Parker Sketch.
Suddenly a gaggle of screaming women entered the bar. Two of them climbed onto the bar, dancing and making out. One girl had a long pink penis shaped water pistol filled with vodka and she was offering shots to all the men. I couldn't bring myself to purse my lips in front of the phallic dispenser. One woman had penis shaped antenna and she was the one to go up to the mic to promote the Bachelorette show. I was given a business card with a tiny plastic bag of white powder stapled to the back, I did a detective wet finger taste test. It wasn't cocaine but powdered sugar, then again, I have no idea what cocaine tastes like. The Bachelorettes vanished as suddenly as the arrived, probably off to the next bar. Suddenly the bar was relatively quiet again.
John Bateman took to the microphone and sang David Bowie's "Space Oddity" with lyrics that had been altered to the Jett Backpack theme. Kevin Sigman as the sinister Doctor Saurian also stepped up to the mic. Matt McGrath shouldered up to the bar with model Sierra Missed. She had an angular futuristic hair style that made her appear like an exotic futuristic replicant from Blade Runner. I had sketched her just last month at the RAW event at the Abbey. I didn't recognize her at first since she was all green when I sketched her, but she recognized me. Matt pointed out that I'm probably the only person in town who can get away with scrutinizing someone for several hours without appearing creepy. With my sketch done, I contemplated wandering off to another bar on the crawl, but decided one sketch was enough for the night.
I'm curious about that Bachelorette show now.
Remaining Show Times are:
5/18 at 7PM
5/19 at 4:20PM
5/22 at 9:30PM
5/24 at 11:15PM
5/25 at 9:15PM
Where: Gold Venue at Theater Downtown, Princeton and Orange
Tickets: $10 plus a Fringe Button
Friday, May 17, 2013
Sisyphus Productions presents Macbeth at this years Fringe Festival. This stripped version of Shakespeare’s classic play of corrupting ambition and madness remains faithful to the text while incorporating grotesquely seductive movement and macabre visuals. The show explores the role of fate as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth yield to the seductive prophecies of the trio of witches and embark down a long road on which “blood will have blood.”
I went to a final dress rehearsal at Edgewater High School just a few days before the play hits the stage in the Shakespeare Theater. I bumped into actress Sarah Lockard in the Shakes and mentioned that I would be sketching Mac... She stopped me and said I couldn't utter the title in the theater. You see, the play is cursed and uttering its name will bring down the fortunes of any theater company. Paul Horgan explained at the Fringe Pub Crawl that theater companies that were struggling would stage Macbeth and then falter. It was a self fulfilling prophesy.
Michelle Kraus does an astonishing job as Macbeth's wife. She seduces Macbeth, played by Jason Skinner, into committing murder to make his way to the thrown. He is filled with self doubt and loathing but her pure unfaltering lustful ambition sways him to the deed. As he laments the bloody dagger, she takes charge snatching the dagger from him and washes it clean. The simple set of pillars and blocks gradually tumbles into ruins as the play progresses. Later Lady Macbeth is plunged into darkness and insanity trying to rub the invisible blood from her hands. Michelle looked off stage in my direction. Her eyes blazed with horror. Although the room was bathed in florescent light, her intensity was frightening.
Holly Harris had three actors cloaked in a stretchy material and their graceful gestures became strange featureless abstractions. Their writhing fluid movements were creepy and effective. Jimmy Moore who directed the play along with Michelle confided that the Fringe play he worked on last year wasn't very good. However he has every reason to be proud of this ambitious production. This huge cast of at least 15 actors gives the play a dark and epic feel. Although the blood red walls of the auditorium seemed appropriate for the production, I need to see the show again on the dark moody Fringe stage complete with lighting effects. I have no doubt this production will shine bright. You should see this hour and a half production, just don't utter the title in any theaters halls. If you order tickets inside the theater, refer to it as "The Scottish Play". "What's done can not be undone."
Saturday May 18th at 9:00PM
Tuesday May 21st at 10:00PM
Saturday May 25th at 7:00PM
Sunday May 26th at 1:45PM
Where: Gold Venue in Theater Downtown, 2113 N Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL
Tickets: $10 plus a Fringe Button
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Dark Side of Saturn presents Key of E. Andy Matchett of Andy Matchett and the Minks wrote all the music for this original apocalyptic rock musical. I went to a rehearsal in a small art classroom on Colonial Drive near a sushi place. Andy welcomed me and apologized that some of the bigger effects might not happen at this rehearsal. I was happy just to listen to his amazing music. Andy began singing with Minks band members Abraham Couch, Brandon Kalber and Randy Coole. I quickly sketched Andy and was surprised when actor Cory Violence replaced him at the mic singing "Just Can't Wait for the Game to End".
Cory takes on the lead roll of Ethan, a disillusioned hipster who dreams of how he might become a John Connor or Road Warrior hero if the world were to suddenly end. As he sang of this apocalyptic bliss, his girlfriend played by Marissa Ashley interrupted to try and get him home. She had to play the roll of annoying reason as he drank himself to oblivion. His dream of the world's end is suddenly realized when he is engulfed in a huge tsunami wave that leaves him stranded on a desert island. The wave was executed with an ingenious effect with a parachute of plastic littered with garbage taking on the roll of the oceans surface. Andy stepped in as the narrator letting us know that the other characters on the survivor's island were figments of Ethan's imagination.
The island had a typical bossy leader who felt he knew all about survival, sending the women to scavenge for food and clean camp. Ethan didn't notice how this annoying character resembled himself. All the people on the island were there to help him survive and avoid his usual path of self destruction. Like the island on Lost, this place is a bit surreal. When Ethan discovers a bottle of whiskey he comes face to face with a dark red eyed demon. His life could return to normal if only he could only put the cap back on the bottle.
Key of E an Apocalyptic Rock Musical
Thursday, May 16 at 7:45PM
Saturday May 18 at 3:00PM
Sunday May 19 at 7:45PM
Wednesday May 22 at 8:00PM
Saturday May 25th at 11:45PM
Green Venue in the Rep
$11 + a Fringe button
P.S. At 8:45PM tonight (May 16th) a certain Urban Sketcher will make a cameo appearance at Emotions Dances' dis/CONNECTED in the Silver Venue which is in the Rep Theater. I really can not divulge details, if I told you, I'd have to kill you.