Volume 79, Number 11 | August 19 - 25, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
LEFT: (Photo by Burrow Beckerman) Elizabeth Audley and her car, Timmy, traveling “All Over” RIGHT: (Photo by Dixie Sheridan) Academics argue on the road to becoming “Peace Warriors”
Our best bets, 2.0
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
Last week, we took a look at a mere twenty of the dozens and dozens and dozens of shows which comprise FringeNYC — that annual marathon smorgesboard of theater, dance and miscellaneous oddities packed with more thespians than a barrel full of bloated, budget-busting Broadway babies.
Here are a few more of the many offerings taking place through August 30.
Now in its thirteenth year, this wildly uneven, curiously curated multi-arts festival has birthed many genuine works of genius — while bestowing its seal of approval on more than one yawn-inducing, head-scratching debacle. Often rough and frayed at the edges but ultimately elegant in form and noble in function, its $15 per-show ticket price means you can take more than a few chances before your bill totals the cost of just one Broadway show. For FringeNYC tickets and information, visit www.FringeNYC.org or call 866-468-7619. Discount passes to multiple shows are available.
Writer/performer Elizabeth Audley’s story about optimism, patriotism and driving around is based on the silly, strange, quirky adventures from a very long 2007 summer road trip during which she “developed an enormous crush on America.” At The Actors’ Playhouse.
AMERICAN JAKATA TALES
Classic Indian Buddhist stories are retold for your amusement — in an allegorical, supremely American manner. Take a trip down South with the Buddha and discover what needs to be learned in this lifetime in order to be reincarnated as something better the next time around. At The Studio @ Cherry Lane.
BABY WANTS CANDY
The titular comedy troupe presents an improvised musical (with a full band) which is created when the audience shouts out titles of musicals that have never been performed before. The first title BWC hears, clearly, becomes the launching point for the next sixty minutes of spontaneously created comedy. At The Players Theatre.
BE THE DOG
Mankind’s complex relationship with man’s best friends gets put under a microscope in this tale (tail?) taken from the stories of Dave Eggars. Four actors play a variety of characters whose lives are all changed by one very exuberant dog. At The Robert Moss Theatre.
CAMP SUPER FRIEND
This kid-friendly story follows the adventures of Marvel — a superhero who doesn’t know how to be a super-friend (until he arrives at Super Camp and must rise to the challenge of saving his peers from the evil Professor Nemesis). At The Cherry Lane Theater.
This serious comedy centers around two obsessive linguists, a determined child and a charismatic guru. Together, this motley crew (each with their own agenda) clash over the power and perversion of language. At The Studio @ Cherry Lane Theater.
DANCES IN FUNNY
Five funny ladies bring movements as sharp as their wits to the table in this manic mashup of dance and original text that promises to be darkly danced; or danced funny; or some such combination of parts whose whole turns out to be something you’ve never seen before and certainly weren’t expecting. At The Robert Moss Theatre.
When ectoplasmic entities contact the Fox sisters of Hydesville, NY in 1848, the trance-driven practice known as Spiritualism is born. See mediums and spirits move within a supernatural soundscape, illuminated by light, projections and otherworldly oddities. This multi-media dance theater piece plays at The Robert Moss Theatre.
Just as an early winter storm moves in, two strangers meet at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Bound together by proximity, and anonymity, they reveal their innermost secrets — and, in the process, find both danger and refuge. At The Studio @ Cherry Lane.
JACK AND THE SOY BEANSTOCK
Wide Eyed Production’s zany eco-friendly take on the timeless childhood fairy tale recasts the Giant as a big business baddie. Jack’s lesson this time around involves self-reliance, conservation and good old fashioned ingenuity. This family-friendly show gets the job done with lots of comedy; and puppets! At Dixon Place.
M: AN ADAPTATION OF SHAKESPEAR’S MACBETH
This show sees Shakespeare performed by a compact trio of actors. The Three Witches use black magic and prophetic visions to morph into every character — spinning a breakneck, abridged version of the well-worn tale whose name no superstitious thespian will say aloud. At The Actors’ Playhouse.
Four academics and a teenage girl get more than they bargained for when they break that rule about not getting personal when it comes to discussing politics. Academic ambition, Middle East conflicts, old affairs and new seductions all figure into the volatile mix. At The Players Theater.
When the town of Loki, North Dakota (population 8) gets one more mischievous resident, the original 8 must reconcile the temptations and opportunities of the modern world with the comfortable, convenient truths of life as they once, very recently, knew it. At SoHo Playhouse.
THE SONGS OF ROBERT
Writer/actor John Crutchfield plays all the parts — in addition to playing a clawhammer banjo and slide guitar while singing. All that, and more, is done in the service of telling this tale (set in the south) of the difficulties faced by a teenage boy. At CSV Cultural and Educational Center.
One woman, ten characters and more than a few tall hats join forces for a wicked romp through the minds of those who worship at a Black Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn. Funny, devilish and heavenly all at the same time, this irreverent look at religion gets its groove from live gospel music and questions posed regarding faith, loss and hat size. At Dixon Place.
The fourth entry in a series of ecologically-inspired “Planet Plays” finds a community of ex-patriot twentysomethings on the volcanic surface of Venus. Their mission? Share a pancake breakfast and try not to self-destruct when a strange, beautiful girl suddenly appears to disrupt the proceedings. Hey, we’ve all been there. At CSV Cultural and Educational Center, Flamnoyan.
VICTORIA AND FREDERICK FOR PRESIDENT
It’s 1872, and Victoria Woodhull is about to run for president (with Frederick Douglas as her VP). Many years before Clinton and Obama made history, Victoria and Frederick were blazing trails that would leave their modern counterparts in the dust. At The New School for Drama.
THE W. KAMAU BELL CURVE
Subtitled “Ending Racism in About an Hour,” this tidy, efficient multi-media performance takes sixty minutes to do what America hasn’t been able to manage in several hundred years — all at the hands of W. Kamau Bell (who’s already secured his place in history by telling “the very first Obama joke back in 2005”). At The Players Loft.
Piper McKenzie (the theater company whose brains are the brawn behind Brooklyn’s Brick Theater) presents “Willy Nilly” — a “musical exploitation” timed to coincide with 40th anniversary of the Manson family and the Tate-Labianca Murders. This self-proclaimed “tasteless rock’n’roll spoof” tells the tale of a filthy faux-Messiah, his cult of wanton women and high Hollywood murder — through copious amounts of gore, gratuitous nudity and cruel stereotypes. The man behind this ambitious affront? Trav S.D. — a Villager contributor and prolific renaissance freakazoid. At Dixon Place.