Sunday, February 12, 2017
This is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Lonergan is running at Macbeth Studio, (37 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL) through February 25th. Billed as a comedy, the show, directed by Jeremy Seghers is actually quite dramatic. Set in a 1980s NYC apartment, the show looks at the relationship between two young men, one a domineering former high school jock, and part time pot dealer named Dennis (Jack Kelly) and the other, Warren (Austin DavisJack Kelly) just trying to escape from his father.
The play is set in Dennis's apartment. The theater is actual a photographer's studio on the 9th floor of a downtown office building. The audience watches the scenes unfold in the round since they are seated along a wall and in seats lining the other side of the room as well. David Horgan on of "Dem Guys" the hardcore Fringe patrons, sat beside me and we debated about the year the play was set in. The rotary phone predated cell phones. A TV guide on the floor placed the time around 1982. Books on the bookshelf further verified the detective work.
The play began with Dennis sprawled on his mattress watching TV. The intercom rang repeatedly. He wanted to ignore it, but couldn't. He buzzed up Warren, who had just left home and hoped to find a place to crash for a bit. Dennis buzzed with adolescent energy. As the two threw a football around the apartment, Warren managed to throw the ball into the book as breaking a sculpture that Dennis had of his girl friends. Dennis lost it, and wrestled Warren by the neck and punched him when he was down. The entire friendship was build around his bullying and belittling Warren.
Dennis was also schemer and he arranged to sell of his friends collection of vintage toys to raise cash. When he was gone, One of Dennis's girlfriends, Jessica (Monica Mulder) came up to the apartment. She was beautiful and Warren stumbled all over himself trying to impress her. His attempts were comical. Of course I was rooting for the geek to get the girl. Through all the awkward exchanges they were surprised that they have very common tastes. Warren stole money from his father when he left home, and he decided to use that money to take Jessica on a expensive night on the town, including an expensive hotel stay.
After the date Jessica stopped by the apartment a second time to see Warren. Although it was clear these two cared about each other, they started fighting. Intimacy sparked before they knew each other, so they were both defensive, trying to maintain boundaries. Warren's favorite possession was a baseball hat from his grand father. Of all his possessions he asked his friend Dennis not to sell the hat. Jessica knew how important the hat was, and when Warren offered her anything for love, she asked for the hat. He was glad to give it to her. But he couldn't find it. He searched the apartment in desperation. It was gone. So was any hope of winning Jessica's love. They exchanged bitter words and were driven apart by a hat. It was painful to watch.
When Warren is bullied by his friend Dennis in the third act, I kept hoping that he would fight back. He would loose a physical confrontation but he needed to stand his ground. Friendships and relationships seemed to be about nothing but taking and steeling from one another. For a comedy, this is a dark view of the world. Politics however imply that this is the American way.
Remaining show dates are, February 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25
All performances @ 8:00PM
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Late With Lance starring Lance Jonathan, was in the Brown Venue inside the Orlando Museum of Art. A poster in the museum showcased the new, hip marketing campaign the museum has started. Over a photo of the museum was written "Orlando Museum O Art". Was this a typo, had they forgotten the "f" in "of"? Perhaps it is just more hip now to leave out letters like f because o texting. Lance equated the bronze venue to a broom closet. His program which everyone got, had his acting resume on one side. He figured someone in the audience must be a talent scout. He had been the head o Big Bird in a National Tour o Sesame Street Live on Ice. He was Nana, the dog in Peter Pan and a Snow Baby in Ice Capades. His skills include, blending into a crowd, crying and or laughing on cue and talking fast.
The last was definitely true, because he was a whirlwind from the moment he got on stage. He pulled a "Late with Lance" banner out o a bucket and used the lid as a blinking marquee. He pulled a woman out o the audience to act as his co-host for a talk show. The second she spoke, he interrupted her to point out that her sole purpose was to laugh. He pulled another woman out o the audience and asked her intimate questions that required plenty o thought. When she answered, he would prod for more information, saying "And... please go on." When asked what her most uncomfortable experience in life had been, she replied "Right now." David Horgan, one o DEM Guys who sees as many shows as humanly possible, held up well under interrogation. His years of watching theater lead him to catch Lance as he made a remark that was a segway to a musical number.
The auburn hair made Lance look rather young. From my front row seat however I could see that his side burns didn't match the hair. Lance let us know that he had asked quite a few stars to come to Orlando to be interviewed on his show. He would periodically check with his tech guy to see if anyone had called. The audience would console him in these moments o disappointment. When he isn't performing exotic Fringe shows, Lance helps his dad and his boyfriend doing a dinner theater show on a cruise ship. A call finally did come, from his dad, and Lance quickly stripped to get into a hula skirt along with a coconut bikini. The wig came off along with his shirt and his young energetic facade crumbled. This was a fun hour of high energy performance. The streamers and banner went back into the bucket. This was a fun, high energy hour of theater and I admire anyone who can maintain that level of energy for an hour.
Friday, March 22, 2013
The 22nd Annual International Fringe Festival had a huge fundraiser at Hard Rock Live in Universal Studios. Several days prior, I had difficulty getting into the parking garage using my Florida Drivers license. Predicting a similar hassle, I scanned the parking voucher and changed the date to Monday March 4th. I could use the counterfeit voucher if needed to park. Walking from the parking garage, I saw "Dem Guys", David Horgan, Ed Anthony, and Myron Blattner. "DEM Guys" sponsor a venue each year at Fringe and they always had a friendly competition to see who could see the most shows. Sadly, Myron died of natural causes last weekend at his home in Altamonte Springs. He was 77.
Seth Kubersky was shooting photos on his iPhone for the Orlando Weekly. The fundraiser was a night of Music, Comedy, Dance, and nonstop entertainment from some of Orlando's top talents. The evening was hosted by The Man of 10,000 Noises, Michael Winslow. Michael gained fame from his performances in the "Police Academy" movies and other blockbuster films such as "Spaceballs" and "Gremlins", and has gone on to entertain audiences across the globe for the last 25 years. A master of vocal gymnastics, Michael can imitate over 1000 sound effects using his voice alone.
Featuring Fringe favorites The Mud Flappers and local all-star band The Downgetters. With additional performances by Yow Dance, Skill Focus Burlesque, Emotions Dance, Circus Arts, ME Dance, Misa Flemenca, Tod Kimbrow and Dorothy Massey, Piranha the Musical, Laney Jones and Matt Tonner and The Downtowners. The Downtowners are a retirement home singing group and as they sang "I want to be Sedated" the song took on a whole new meaning.
The show went on for over three hours. Had I known I might have done another sketch. Towards the end all the performers were on stage singing the Beatles "Let it Be". The song went on forever. I shouted along, "Let it Be!" meaning "Let the song end already!" The evening raised about $7000 for the Fringe which will officially start on May 15th in Loch Haven Park and Ivanhoe Village.
Monday, May 21, 2012
My first Fringe show was suggested to me by Denna Beena. Well...Since You Asked featured a solo performance by Kate O'Neal where she offered her opinions and personal life experiences. She would go to a small round table at the back of the stage to pick up slips of paper with questions, presumably from audience members and her mom. David Horgan, one of DEM Guys, was seated in the front row. An on running joke between us is that David always tries to pose in any scene I happen to be sketching. This time he succeeded being front and center. The center bleacher seating was full with run over audience members sitting on the sides,
Although much of Kate's monologue was funny and irreverent, she succeeded best when she spoke from the heart. When she related one of the most tragic moments of her life, the theater went dark and she was bathed in a red spotlight. Everyone in the room seemed to lean forward, fully present. She sang several songs which resonated deeply with me. Desperado by the Eagles and Bridge over Troubled Waters. Her singing alone was worth the price of admission.
She has met some fascinating people in her life and has been through a number of jobs and husbands. When she discovered her husband was having an affair with the neighbors wife, her retaliation had audience members gasping and laughing. This is why theater and the Fringe are magic. People will always want to gather in a darkened room to learn from someone elses life experiences. Kate shared them all, even her mistakes, bringing us along for the emotional ride. A show like this takes bravery and this was her first time doing a personal monologue. The Fringe makes taking such chances a reality for performing artists. I'm glad she took that chance. As she said, "It's never too late to be who you might have been."
Monday May 21st at 6:45PM
Tuesday May 22nd at 7:15PM
Friday May 25th at 7:45PM
Saturday May 26th at 12:45PM
Performances are in the brown venue and tickets are $8.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
The Orlando International Fringe Festival is now in full swing. I strolled the green lawn of fabulousness and found Tod Caviness taping a string of Christmas lights to his poetry vending machine. He was glad it was sunny out, but he warned me that a storm was coming. My first order of business was the beer tent. I searched for the beer ticket booth and asked for one $5 ticket. Beer taps come right out of the side of the beer truck. I decided to order a German beer because I liked the bright yellow tap handle. It was a sweet smooth blend and I suspect it will be my beer of choice this year. I took a few sips and then started drawing the truck. Puffy white cumulus clouds looked thick and friendly. Twice I had to extract dead bugs from my drink.
Later that evening, I planned to see "Well Since You Asked" starring Kate O'Neal. Denna Beena had suggested I make this my first Fringe show. Logan Donahoo suggested I see "Cannibal! The Musical" which was written by one of the South Park writers. Actress Marty Stonerock saw me sketching and gave me a warm welcome. "I know the Fringe has officially begun when I see you sketching away" she said. She was a fireball of excitement and energy. She had volunteered last year and had a blast. She couldn't wait to get started again this year. She took a photo of me at work and shouted, "Act natural!"
David Horgan, one of DEM Guys, stopped to say hello just as I was finishing my sketch. He stood in front of me posing with his cooler. Darn, I could have worked him into the picture had he arrived just a little earlier. He had posed for my Mennello Museum mural last year. DEM Guys are, David, Ed, and Myron. Every year they compete to see who can see the most shows. They also sponsor one of the venues. David hopes to see more than 60 shows this year. He gave me a DEM Guys pin which I was proud to put on my bag. With the sketch finished, I ran off to my first show. I felt at home. Happy Fringe!