Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Taking a nap-

Just to let you all know...

There are loads of reviews up at However, I'm not going to see anything this weekend. I have mysterious and complicated Other Plans.

I will return next week with new shows and a raffle!


Sunday, June 19, 2005

You've gotten eviler since I saw you last...

Gosh, I'm beat. I have to stop going out after shows. Gets in the way of the blogging, and that's most important.

The True Ballad of Fall's Blessings had gamblers, and the supernatural, and the old west and at least 12 too many plotlines. Not that I don't like crazy plotlines, but sometimes I want more time with my favorite actors. Yes, the play needed at least 70% more Jamie Vann.* This lady Jennifer Avery also appealed to me, in the same way Mr. Vann does-- clearer and bolder than most people can manage to be on stage.

I liked it a lot. I liked the story, and I liked the set, and I overall approved of everything that was happening. There were many little points where the play tripped for me- went too far/not far enough/in general didn't have the chops- but not enough to make me feel badly towards it as a whole. Plus, it contained my favorite single costume of the year so far: a splendid Betsy Johnsonish frock/pantaloons ensemble for a bearded lady.

Lovely background music... but as a wild-west musical it fell down on the musical part. There were only six songs, and some of them were... well, I'm tired. But the point I'm trying to talk round to here is that six is not a large amount of songs. Six is an acceptable number if a. the songs are performances within the text (eg 12th night) or b. the songs happen only at moments of unusual intensity and are somehow set apart (eg curse of the crying heart). When there are 15 numbers in a show, it's ok to have people sing about their philosophy of life, or about what they're making for breakfast. My point is- there were some full-fledged musical type songs in what I would classify as a song with plays, and they didn't quite work. I actually asked- why did you start singing just now? And I'm not the sort of person that asks that about musicals.

The venue was well insulated. Hurray! A first for this weekend!

*I saw Mr. Vann, this great bald stevedore shaped actor, in King Lear, where he was extremely fabulous as- Kent, I think. One of the good ones. My praise of him is more based on King Lear than on Falls Blessing, in which he had little to do but look interesting and sound dangerous.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What is this bullshit? Give me the cheese!

"Book of Days" at Steep Theatre. This play made me angry. Angry and hungry. Angry and hungry is a first.

The anger is easily explained by the bastardly actions of the play's villains. The hunger... partially explained by the fact that I didn't get out till 10:40, but also by the way certain characters kept talking about cheese. Delicious, aged, artisanal chedder. Even though the plot swings on a covered up murder, and sports religious hypocrisy and a cheating spouse, I was at least as emotionally engaged with the cheese. "No, no no! You conniving, prejudiced, grasping, pompous evil jerks!" I barely managed to not shout. "Don't you give that aged provolone to Kraft to be turned into velveeta! You give it to me!"

Now, as I sit before my computer gnawing on this almost acceptable hunk of swiss I bought at the all night Jewel 20 minutes ago, let me make it clear that I got more out of the play than a longing for cheese. I spent most of the second act trying not to shout for all sorts of reasons ("No! Don't tell him that! He's evil! Don't grant him that anullment! Argh!")-- even worse form than at a movie, because the actors really can hear you.

Overall, great play, about this genuinely charming little town that gets small minded and nasty by the second act. But not in a didactic or irritating way. There's both murder, and a play within a play, so it passes the Hamlet test.* Fantastic heroine too- adorable, sturdy bookkeeper/community theatre actress/ amateur sleuth/ hapless truthteller Ruth Hoch, who plays Joan of Arc on stage and on the streets. Krista Forster did a fine job in that role, as did Tom Hickey, her cheese obsessed husband. Very likable characters, who I admire, respect, and agree with, especially about cheese. Egan Reich was funny, but by no means stereotypical, as the talented bi-coastal refuge hired to direct the little town's production of Shaw's Saint Joan. And Alex Gillmore was infuriating as the bad guy. I single out these guys for being great. The rest of the huge cast was solid... not exciting, but ok.

The venue (Steep Theatre) won points for being sweet, and for having real wooden chairs instead of seats. Also, couple steps from the Sheridan Redline.
It lost major points (and how!) for the rockabilly songs that were clearly audible through the much of the second act. I mean, not just thumping base, but actual words, and harmonica solos. Poor actors.
It's quite tiny, also. Even with a full house, the audience doesn't outnumber the cast by much. Created a certain amount of staging awkwardness. Actors kept subway shuffling round each other. But I liked the tiny.

*The Hamlet test: Could I gratuitously bring up Hamlet when discussing this play? See! Just did.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Very Possibly Simply the Best Thing Ever

It's 1985, people, get it together!

Ok, I'm sorry. I'm not making sense. I'm too much hyped up. Barrel of Monkeys is by far the best Monday night out I've ever had. All of you- why haven't you seen it yet? Multiple times!

So, quickly, BOM is an organization that goes into public schools, induces children to write stories, and then stages them. Both in the schools, for the benefit of the authors, and every Monday night at the Neofuturariam, under the title "That's Weird Grandma," for the benefit of all. The actors in question, by the way, are top-notch*- the comic timing, the boundless energy, the works, no ketchup. I teared up at the end. I reserved a copy of the CD. I bought an amazing t-shirt, which I will be rocking with deconstructed denim tomorrow down at the Grind, to the thunderous envy of all.

I went to see the "Celebration of Authors," which means the show was longer, there were over 30 actors, and the audience was full of screaming kids/writers. I like screaming kids. I know a lot of people don't. I'm considering returning next week before I write the Inside review... just to let y'all know what the ambience is like on a normal night. Who wants to come with me? It's only an hour long, so plenty of time to hit the Hopleaf afterwards.

*Including my hero Molly Brennan. Do you want to know how cool she is? The Jeffs were tonight, and she is nominated, but instead of going to a ceremony to honor herself, she went to a celebration to honor these kids. That in itself, gentlemen, you might think is pretty cool.** But consider this: she sent a puppet to the Jeffs in her place. Game, set and match.

**And now, so that we don't forget the forces of anti-awsomeness, I'll give my award for un-cool behaviour. I'd been eagerly awaiting the "Sin" issue of Topic Magazine, until I read the following l'il anecdote in Gawker (quoted w/o permission, sorry):

One Topic editor tells me about the totally dick move he pulled on a flight back from Paris. “I was sitting next to this guy, looking disdainfully at the mass market spy paperback he was reading. And when he fell asleep I took it out of his seat pocket, ripped out the last three pages, and put it back. But when he woke up, I found that he was actually very nice. He asked what I was reading and it was To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson. And he was all, ‘Oh, what I’m reading isn’t quite as literary,’ and I’m, like, repressing laughter. When I got to the terminal, I looked at what I’d torn out and the entire book hinged on what was in those last three pages. So, yeah, that was pretty fun.”

I can't even describe to you what a completely worthless person this guy seems to be. Topic Magazine, for employing such a person, you lose points. I will read the articles I'm interested in while standing up in a bookstore, and give the money I've saved to Barrel of Monkeys.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


So, several total jerks over on Craigslist decided to flag my posting in free stuff of the second ticket raffle as spam. I am grandly peeved. Different raffle, different ticket... hence, not spam. Please don't do that. There are about 50 people so far who are interested in getting some live theatre- let those who want to know about it know!


I'm going to wait a week before reposting. Bookmark us, because that's the only way you'll find out about new raffles!

In other news, I saw "How I Learned to Drive" at Profiles Theatre. Sunday Matinee, audience of four. Half of whom were late.* I'll bet the evening audiences were better- Sunday Matinees are horrible things, kids.

More detailed thoughts on it tomorrow, kittens. But for the record, they deserved a bigger crowd and, despite outnumbering us (the audience) they didn't pull their punches. If you haven't seen this play, go see it for certains. If you have- well, like I said. More thoughts tomorrow.

To all y'all except the flaggers- no love for you!

*yes... one of them was me. I suck.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

This week's first responder tickets gone!

Email wayoffloop at gmail dot com to be entered in the general drawing. Note- if you have entered already and haven't won, you don't need to do it again for the general drawing.

Winner picked Monday! Remember- it is just one ticket per show- you can't take your mother/boyfriend/cousin/wife, but you can send them!


Friday, June 10, 2005

But Georgie.... don't you know... you're a flaming homosexual?

"Queen Lucia," just opened up at Lifeline, is a funny little beast but very well done. I had a head cold and I still enjoyed it. That's high praise, that is.

It's not formally odd- it's a straight ahead musical in form, but it... well, it's about an English society woman, the titular Lucia, who is queen bee of a little town called Rizzom. (sp?) She's the most charismatic, has all the artistic authority, throws the best parties... and then this utterly fabulous opera singer buys a country home in Rizzom, and Lucia is toast. Furious toast. So you'd expect this to be a very hyped up Gilbert and Sullivan meets Earnest, Importance of... but it isn't. Not quite. It's a little subtler, and more emotionally icky, and it has one of those deflated in-between, bittersweet endings that are so disorienting in musicals... like the original ending of "Pippin" but not as much of a mind-fuck.* In musicals my gut always wants someone to die or get married, preferably both.

That's not to say it won't evoke happy G and S memories... lots of operettaish numbers, lots of great staging... a hilarious act one closer where Lucia sings your basic aria of revenge in the middle of a party. While people are doing a bunny hop. Choice. And did I mention the great staging? Those Lifeline people are superb at arranging actors on their itty little stage and moving them about during songs.

Ah- and the venue itself. Severe, severe rake. Stage looks like a postage stamp from up there. But I love it. Only heard a train one time.

Must to bed. Head cold rearing its awful... head. again.

*I realize this is my second Pippin reference in a month-old blog. I have neither excuse nor explanation.

Our Second Weekly Ticket Raffle!

Email wayoffloop at gmail dot com to be entered in our second contest!

We'll be picking two winners- a 'first responder' and a random pick. The first person to email me after I post this is ensured a ticket. There will also be one randomly chosen winner. Winners will be notified Monday.

To clarify:

You can only get one free ticket at a time- I have to take you, you can't take a guest.

If you win, you'll have three weekends to redeem your ticket. You'll be emailed with possibilites at the beginning of the week. That means a choice of up to twelve fabulous shows!

due to the number of entries, if you've already entered, you don't need to enter again. You'll still be part of the drawing. However, if you'd like to go for the 'first responder' ticket, you will need to email again. Now. Quick. Hands on the button! It's 4:30 over here. Go!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The weekly ticket- Now actually weekly...

Due to the unexpected and overwhelming response to our first free ticket lotto, we will be choosing a winner TOMORROW instead of in a week. Stay tuned for details of the next lotto, posted in the next couple of days.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pleading the fifth...

Tonight, for the first time in recent memory, I wanted to skip out at intermission. I'm not going to name the play right now... I have to wrestle with my sympathies to the producers and my sympathies to audiences. But, heh. Hoo.

Now to see if the gods really want me to go to kareoke tonight.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Our First Free Ticket Lotto- for strangers

For the next two weeks, I'll be accepting emails at wayoffloop at gmail dot com from people who want to see free theatre, but who aren't lucky enough to be my personal friends. I will randomly select one lucky winner, and email that person with a list of extremely awesome show options and times.

Please include: your name, your email, and the subject line "Take me to the theatre."