Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I arranged to meet the cast of Dog Powered Robot at the loading door of the Orange Venue at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. As I approached the green lawn of fabulousness, I realized I didn't know where the Orange venue was. I decided to go inside the Shakes and that was a correct guess. Brittany Wine, the DPR stage manager was at the stage door in a stunning red dress. I asked about the loading door and she lead Gina Makarova and myself through a maze of hallways and back doors. Gina was using crutches and had on a temporary cast. It seems her cello had decided to wrestle her to the ground.
The DPR army gathered behind the theater along with a small mountain of cardboard robot parts and set pieces. Grace "Scully" Nolan had seen the DPR billboard on the drive over and the server saw her Blue DPR shirt and commented on how she loved Dog Powered Robot. The servers name was Destiny which forebode a super awesome performance. Fisher was a furry bundle of energy and he barked his welcome an more people arrived. Evan Miga explained that a life sized VW van would drive across the stage Flintstones style, giving this Fringe show effects bigger than the helicopter in Miss Saigon or the Phantom's chandelier. . The metallic garage door opened, Christie Miga picked up Fisher and the DPR Army started moving the corrugated cardboard city inside.
I thought I wanted to sketch backstage, but most of the robot parts were out on the floor of the theater. I sat in a front row theater seat, but the arms were too restrictive so I ended up sitting on my artist seat partly on stage. Brittany announced, "5 minutes to house open!" and someone shouted back "Thank you 5!" I couldn't believe it, my sketch was barely blocked in. I would have to finish as the show progressed. Cast members in black outfits with black helmets with red miner's lights roamed the room scanning with a long pole with a spinning light rainbow device. They muttered to each other in an alien dialect reminiscent of a Muppet's song. The rear projection screen announced that they were Ninja Noids and were invisible. That didn't stop the Ninja Noids from interacting with the audience as they arrived. There was playful theater magic from the start. I sketched Vic-16, (Corey Violence) and Commodore, (Zach Scot) but they only had bit parts to introduce the play.
Lolly Bot (Serafina Schiano) was delightful and she was given time to shine. Audience members were offered a $1 discount if they showed up as a robot. Her counter part, a punk purple bot, Scraperella Overdrive, played by Jennifer Guhl, added sass and attitude to the show. The villain was a grumpy old neighbor who had robotic arms played by John Moughan, and by the end of the show he had used the embigi-fication matrix to extend his reach with many giant arms. I will not give away any of the plot points other than to say that the friendly blue Dog Powered Robot saved the day. The show had the audience laughing out loud and they cheered for Fisher, the little Pomeranian at the heart of the bright blue bot. The show returned to the dreams of the big city ideals that were endearing in the short production two years ago. It is hard to recreate the energy and surprise of that initial production. Call it destiny or call it fate, the show was a super awesome mega win!
Show times are:
Wednesday 5/23 at 5:15PM
Thursday 5/24 at 7:45PM
Saturday 5/26 at 1:15PM
Sunday 5/27 at 3:15PM
Tickets are $11.