The long and short of it

February 1st, 2009

Ha ha, I’m so clever, I came up with a title that reflects my performances at both the short and long fringe this week. I should do this for a living. Think of all the money I could make writing titles for other people’s blog entries that people don’t read.

Last night I did the Best of Week show at the Short Fringe. I was a bit gobsmacked to get the call late Friday night to say I’d been selected. Erik was doing his ‘told you so’ bit, as he’d predicted this happening earlier in the week. Fortunately we didn’t place a bet on this one, I already owe him enough.

The show was fun, packed house again, lively audience. I’m so glad I’ve been able to do the short fringe this year, I miss being with other performers and I miss the smallness of the Hyde Park Theatre and its oddly shaped stage. I think the word I wanted there was intimacy but that’s one of those words that makes me shudder.

Barry had an odd time. My throat had felt really dry and kind of sticky all evening and by the time Barry was up on his soapbox my mouth really started drying out. I forgot to take a swig of water beforehand and really paid for it. I was desperately trying to find some moisture, doing lots of swallowing and trying to conjure up some spit, to loosen my tongue, but there was nothing. I think the word I need here is lubricate, but see above.

I could hear myself starting to slur my words because I couldn’t move my lips properly. I’m sure this is how a stroke probably feels. I almost ran off stage to get water but not even Barry is that weird. So I stayed up there in my plastic mat, sweltering and pulling the strangest lip movements and hoping they wouldn’t notice too much.

Yet another lesson learned. No lattes’s before a performance. Get some gum. Drink more water. Thanks again universe.

I didn’t stay around for the rest of the show, just too tired and didn’t want to face any questions about Barry and his lip contortions.

This afternoon is the last show, the one that’s supposed to fall somewhere between v. good and brilliant. I’m excited about it, but a little sad too because I’ve become very attached to my characters and love discovering new things about them. But I want to get on with other projects and I need to get back to being a good wife, with all that it entails. So I’ll give Barry, Catherine, Jane and the rest of them a good old send off this afternoon and then they can all bugger off to wherever they came from. review

February 1st, 2009

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We’ve been attending Frontera Fest’s Short Fringe all this week, and what a tasty sample box it’s been. With packed houses every night, we’ve enjoyed the fest’s bite-sized morsels of all types of theatre. High points have run the gamut thematically, from previews of Long Fringe pieces to monologues and short plays, not to mention a smattering of improv. It’s been a great week to take in some fringe at Hyde Park Theatre.

We’ve always enjoyed Maggie Gallant’s work, and her latest piece, Our Angle In Heaven, is outstanding. Gallant explores a variety of Britons’ reactions to the death of Princess Di; her characters are fully-formed and fascinating—not to mention hilarious. We plan to check out the full version of the show in the Long Fringe: this Sunday at 4pm at the Salvage Vanguard Theater. Don’t miss it if you’re in need of a lot of laughter…of the meaningful kind.

We’ll also catch the final Long Fringe performance of Daniel Huntley Solon’s Sex, With Benefits on Saturday at noon, at the Blue Theater, because the portion we saw last night was so compelling, we have to see the whole story. It’s a touching, well-written work about two young men, “cyber fuck-buddies,” who meet for the first time. The set-up doesn’t sound nearly as compelling as the work actually is. We highly recommend it.

Monoguists have been in great form this week. Bernadette Nason’s Guns, Hats, and a Big Gulp will make you remember why you love being a Texan, while at the same time leaving you longing for adventure in foreign lands. Kenneth Wayne Bradley’s Wicker Chairs was a touching exploration of loss, and the ups and downs of life. Bradley is always a compelling performer, and a great writer as well.

A few short plays were winners. Aimee Gonzalez’s hilarious Five ‘Til, produced by Loaded Gun Theory, was clever, extremely well-acted and directed, and too much fun to watch. With a clever premise and some unexpected twists, this piece made us wish Gonzalez had a Long Fringe version for us to see. Priscilla Sample’s Lascivious Lunches and Decadent Dinners is a fully-formed murder mystery that will have you from the very first scene. Commissioned by Austin Script Works, the actors are excellent, the pacing perfect, and the writing taut.

Finally, there’s been some solid improv and sketch this week. Most notable are John Ratliff and Lisa Jackson, with a side-stitch inducing long-form piece about the marriage of an aging hipster couple, and the always-excellent Lovey and Lovey, who brought down the house last night with a series of new sketches that made us laugh so hard we were wiping away tears.

With more great shows that we can mention here—Stephen Pruitt’s pirate radio piece TBA comes to mind—Frontera is a sure win on every night. There’s always a wait list, so if you want to be certain to get a seat you should pick up your tickets online. It looks like this week’s Best of Week is sold out, but call the theatre (479-PLAY) to double check, or show up early and hope to get in.

By Jooley Ann in Arts and Entertainment on January 30, 2009 11:07 AM