Edgy August offerings not just flowing from FringeNYC

“Coriolanus” will be re-envisioned as a modern day election fable in the second production of the Drilling Company’s 2012 Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot series (Aug. 2-18 in the Municipal Parking Lot, corner of Ludlow & Broome Sts.). Photo by Jonathan Slaff

With 200+ shows at two dozen venues, Fringe still looms large

BY TRAV S.D.  |  I’ve just started to climb out of my hidey hole to begin seeing shows again following a six month book-writing jag. And we’re off to a good start! I managed to catch Untitled Theater Company #61’s adaptation of the Ursula K. Le Guin classic “The Lathe of Heaven” at 3LD. It was a thought-provoking experience, the highlight of which was Robert Honeywell’s measured, affecting performance as a man whose dreams have the power to change reality. Also entertaining (although it didn’t provoke any thoughts) was Tribeca Lab’s “TITANIC! A Folk Rock Opera” in the undergroundzero festival, which was more tuneful than factual. (Who knew that British sailors were so laid back?) Heading into August, I foresee no icebergs on the horizon (how could there be?).

August 2-18, The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot series will be presenting their version of “Coriolanus” — Occupy Wall Street style. Transplanted from ancient Rome to an American presidential election (hmm…kind of like ours), the production, as always, will be presented in the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. Best of all, it’s free. Which is surprising — think what they could charge for standing outside in a paved parking lot for two hours in August. Snarkiness aside, “Coriolanus” is on my short list of Shakespeare-I-have-not-yet seen, so I intend to attend. Find more info at shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.

Now for the new shows this month. August 1-4, Soho Think Tank’s Ice Factory will be presenting “The Girl of the Golden West” — the latest adaptation of David Belasco’s 1911 Western novel, which was subsequently turned into a stage play by the author, and later into an opera by Puccini. The new version is a musical by the team of Brian Rady and Jeremy Bloom. I’m intrigued by what sort of modern spin can be given to this tale of the only eligible girl in a mining camp full of lusty men. My version would stress the camp in “camp,” but something tells me they’ve gone in an earnest direction. Still, it’s interesting. For tickets and more information, go to newohiotheatre.org.

August 4 is the opening day of Theater for the New City’s annual street theater production “99% Reduced Fat” — which they describe as a “rip-roaring musical” and “a little operetta for the street.” Something tells me it’ll have a little something to do with Occupy Wall Street and the upcoming elections. TNC’s free street theater presentation has been going strong for about four decades now and is one of the last holdovers of the heyday of political protest theater. Without Vietnam, Nixon or even Reagan to rail against, the show tends to be a Mulligan Stew of progressive causes (but I haven’t missed one in eight years). Written and directed as always by TNC’s founder Crystal Field, the community-spirited show always has plenty of sweetness and charm. It’ll be touring all five boroughs through September 16. For a complete schedule, see theaterforthenewcity.net.

The second big event at TNC this month is the return of their new annual Dream Up Festival. Curated by Michael Scott-Price, the festival features “theatrical visions embracing drama, poetry, music and dance,” presenting two dozen shows in TNC’s four spaces from August 19 through September 9. All they’ve released at press time are the show titles — but I must say that’s more than enough to intrigue. Shows include “Fat Fat Fatty,” “Giant Killer Slugs,” “Pornography for the People,” “Love in the Seventh Kingdom of Wrath,” “The Love Junkies of Hell’s Kitchen” and “The Ukulele Orchestra of Greater Brooklyn Presents ‘Missionary in Manhattan’ a Mormon Musical.” For a schedule and tickets, go to
dreamupfestival.org.

That festival will, of course, have an avalanche of competition from the granddaddy of summer theater events, the New York International Fringe Festival, now in its 16th year. Over 200 productions at two dozen venues take part in the festival, which runs from August 10-26. Get the full schedule at fringenyc.org.

Nowadays, no one actually dies — their spirits simply inhabit the bodies of tribute act impressionists. August 12, 7pm at The Duplex, don’t miss “A Night at the Sands: Music, Laughter & Drinks with Dean Martin.” Michael Patrick Dominick stars as the titular crooning inebriate in this re-enactment of the Las Vegas musical variety comedy acts of the 1960s. We can’t have Dino anymore, but this is liable to be just as weird. Visit theduplex.com for more information.

On August 18, Epic Win Burlesque will be presenting “CLOCKtease! A Steam-Powered Scientific Exhibition of Professional Ecdysiasts.” Run by magician Nelson Lugo, Epic Win bills itself as “one of the nerdiest burlesque shows in the city” (there are OTHER nerdy burlesque shows in the city?). Mixing elements of nerdcore and burlesque, they’ve done previous girlie shows using themes like the TV shows “Star Trek” and “Firefly.” It’s a niche, one would imagine, they have all to themselves! In their new steampunk edition, they promise to present such “miracles of modern science” as Hazel Honeysuckle, Moxie Kat, Mary Cyn, Minnie de Moocha and Kobayashi Maru (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nasty Canasta). Host Nelson Lugo promises to break out his Blade Box O’Death. He threatens to dismember one of his girls, but something tells me it’s all talk. It’s at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe: nuyorican.org.

See you next month!

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