Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Howler's Theater presents Wind Up 1957 at the Savoy.

Howler's Theatre's World Premiere production of an immersive play, written by Scott Browning, which invites audience members into a gay bar in the 1950’s to witness life and love at a time when the truth could get one arrested and conformity was almost mandatory. “Wind Up 1957” is a theatrical experience that dissolves the law of time to ask, has much really changed since then?"

The play was inspired by the book “Gay Bar” by Helen Branson - the first novel about gay culture that was legally printed in the U.S. Playwright Scott Browning explains, “I fell in love with Helen so much that I just wanted to bring her and her boys back to life, 60 years later, at her Hollywood bar "The Windup.”

Pam I went to a dress rehearsal in The Savoy (1913 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804). Director Vera Varlamov was incredibly welcoming. She bubbled with delight each time an actor arrived dressed in their best 1950s suits and ties. music from the 50s filled the theater in the round. Actors checked their cellphones to pass the time until the rehearsal started. The setting for the play was perfect. The Starlight room is an intimate cabaret space inside the Savoy. The air smelled of cigarette smoke covered by strong perfumed cleaners. In this interactive space, an actor might just sit down next to you.

Vera lead the actors in a viewpoints session. The actors walked the space getting used to the new space which was larger that the spaces they had been rehearsing in but also filed with chairs. Vera referred to the chairs as the ghosts in the room, soon to be filled by an audience. The actors had to get used to walking among the seats.In the first phase they walked the space not acknowledging each other. Then they added eye contact and emotion to their steps. In the final phase, they projected outward filling the space with their presence as they moved. For me it was  a quick introduction into how each character moved.

The edgy and funny bar keep, Carol Begerow-Adubato, was my favorite character in the production. She didn't take any crap from anyone and she instinctively knew how to protect her patrons. There was a natural playfulness to many of the scenes, like the characters were regulars who often joked together. Scott Browning was good at being intense and brooding. A slow dance with his stand in partner was incredibly sincere. One actor was in another production across town, so his lines had to be read by the tech.

Since this was the first time in a new space, the scenes had to stop once and a while to work out staging issues. But in general the production flowed nicely. The director acknowledged the audience of two and when the seats fill, there will be a new energy that will fill the space.

Other acting talents included Mitchell Dean Wells, Benjamin Dupree, Josh Breece, Barry Wright, Alina Alcantara, Rashad Alii, and Brandon Fabian Lope.

Tickets are $12.

Where: The Savoy (1913 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804)
When: All shows are from 8 PM to10 PM.
Friday     November 3, 2017
Saturday November 4, 2017
Friday     November 10, 2017
Saturday November 11, 2017
Friday     November 17, 2017
Saturday November 18, 2017
Friday     November 24, 2017
Saturday November 25, 2017

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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