Monday, May 6, 2013

Jett Backpack Rehearsal

On April 29th, I went to Dancer’s Edge Studio (7351 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL) to sketch a rehearsal for Jett Backpack and the Battle at the End of the Universe, which will appear at the upcoming Fringe Theater Festival in May. It was raining like a banshee  on the drive to the theater, but the cast trickled into the dance studio lobby one at a time at first and then in a deluge. The dance studio had mirrors on three walls and the actors performed towards the fourth wall.

Much of the action took place on an intergalactic space craft with John Bateman playing a cocky and somewhat incompetent captain with Jennifer Guhl playing his salty number 1.  The play was written by Josh Geohagen and he sat on the floor pouring over the script. At this rehearsal just two scenes were blocked with Kevin G. Becker directing. Before getting to work, the cast assembled in a circle and switched places with a point and command. Another exercise involved everyone walking the room and reciting the alphabet. If two actors said the same letter at the same time, they had to begin again at A. I'm always amazed at how a cast can pull together and become keenly aware of each other working almost like a flock.

Often the crew of the star ship would be looking at an imaginary view screen which they decided was the blue cork paneling on the wall. They all would crane their heads to look up at it. Several clones perished in gruesome ways and where whisked off to air locks. Dorothy Massey played a sultry Princess Positronic who was attracted to the captain. Trenell Mooring is sort of the face of Fringe this year since she is pictured on the Fringe poster along with her son. Her eyes are set apart wide on her face giving her an exotic chiseled look. She plays the part of an alien helmsman on the ship speaking an alien dialect. This tongue in cheek comedy was consistently hilarious. I can't wait to see the cast in costume. Since only two scenes were rehearsed, I'm left wondering how the adventure will play out.

Where: The show will be in the yellow venue which is the Mandell Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
How much: You need a Fringe button plus tickets are $10.
Show times:
Thu 5/16 7:30PM
Sat 5/18 9:45PM
Sun 5/19 11:15PM
Tue 5/21 7:15PM
Thurs 5/23 5:45PM
Fri 5/24 6:30PM
Sat 5/25 1:00PM

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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