Saturday, November 20, 2010
Getting to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami was an adventure in battling congested urban traffic. Terry and I followed Elaine Pines who was a native Miami dweller. We hoped to get to downtown Miami from Miami Beach in 45 minutes. There were five accidents as we drove down I-95. Traffic slowed to a crawl. We considered scrubbing the whole theater experience since we were running late. Orlando performance artist Brian Feldman was performing in the theater lobby for an hour before Kristina's Wong's show. Brian and Kristina had met last summer at Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach. Terry dropped me off at the theater steps and I jogged inside. I picked up our tickets and then asked the box office assistant where Brian was performing. He looked at me with a blank stare and said, "Brian Feldman? I'm sorry, I don't recognize the name." I thanked him anyway and searched the lobby. After I searched in the men's room (you never know where Brian might perform!), I found him right near the Carnival Studio Theater entrance. Beside him was a 5 gallon gasoline container. Brian lifted the container and took a long drink. Behind him, a large mosaic mural by Cundo Bermudez called "Ways of Performing" decorated the wall. He rested for a bit, coughing between long draughts. The arriving audience patrons that slowly crowded into the lobby never seemed to notice Brian. I, on the other hand, found the image of him sucking down gasoline timely and funny.I knew there wasn't much time to sketch so I rushed to get lines on the page.
Kristina's show, Going Green the W0ng Way, directed by Paul Tei, began with an image of Earth projected on a large screen. Hundreds of plastic grocery bags were piled up and toys were lined up along the back of the stage. The show was a no holds barred hilarious experience. She had no problems with self-deprecating humor. Everyone in the audience had a plastic grocery bag on their seat with a water bottle filled with beans that made for a fun alternative to clapping. The first act began with Wong shouting her environmental beliefs into a megaphone to her middle school classmates. She broke into a fast-paced rap that outlined her devotion to Mother Earth.
One of the show's funniest moments came as she demonstrated the wonders of a reusable tampon called The DivaCup. Her attempts to demonstrate this environmentally friendly product were embarrassingly funny. The story she later told about trying to reduce her carbon footprint by driving a car that ran on vegetable oil was endlessly funny. The car became a money pit, with endless trips to mechanics. She related the inner workings of the LA bus and subway system with so much detail, it became a spoof on how insane the inner workings were. I found it ironic that Terry and I had to battle so much traffic congestion in order to get to the show.
The environmentally friendly messages were driven home with humor. Life's bittersweet ironies were mined and exposed. The show never missed a beat. I laughed the whole time as I discovered more about Wong and the World she wanted to save. There are two more performances: Saturday, November 20th at 7pm and the same day at 10pm in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Carnival Studio Theater (1300 N. Biscayne Blvd. Miami). Cost is $30-35.