Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 May 2004

Festival of Found Spaces

The Found Space idea was something Josh came up with last year... it was an idea I fought against in faculty meetings, but I don't think either Josh or I had thought of this Festival as what I saw tonight.  It seemed to grow into something huge: something bigger than it was ever intented to be.
So for me, both evenings were too long.  At least one show from Act One needed to be cut from each night, in my opinion.  Or maybe it was all the walking to which I objected.  There was so much walking.
Congrats to _fuckhead_ and to foryourhealth.  I think you definitely chose pieces that displayed your own particular theatrical voices, and for the most part I enjoyed them.  For me the drawback was mostly the writing.  Most of the plays seemed in their early stages as plays (excepting the waiting room piece).  I would have definitely asked for rewrites from most of the playwrights.  I hate to be too hard on them: they are, after all, BA students, but that doesn't mean rewrites aren't amiss.  Even Say Again, which I think has a lot of great things happening, still lacks a real punch... it's not as horrific as it could be.  (tripcat, I think you should do some more writing in your spare time.  I dig your style a lot.)
So, here goes... the shopping play was very cute and very wise—a nice opener.  The waiting room piece was excellent and very disconcerting, especially being around so many of your relatives, Ashley.  The "fuck" piece was preachy, but I loved the excessive use of profanity.  It reminded me a lot of Krzystof Kieslowski's Three Colors: White.  Rick was great.  Matt was good, but it was Rick's piece, so Matt didn't have much of a chance to show off like he did in Mud.  I didn't like the school piece that Rod Vernon wrote.  It was extremely cynical, and I found that kind of arrogant and off-putting.  The Jesus play was great—hysterically funny and very well acted.  Joe Ngo was hilarious.  This was a perfect piece for you, Justin.
Jungle Toons was awful.  Awful.  I think the title is wrong, too.  Shouldn't it be Jungle Tunes?  I mean, Nathan kept saying "jungle tunes."  He says "cartoon" at the end when he's talking about death, but that was more like a single "jungle 'toon"; certainly not enough cartoons to be called Jungle Toons.  Nathan was damn irritating and never funny.  Joe was consistently funny.  Cow was horrible, but she's so one-note as a performer that it's not surprising.  I thought Jensen and Cyn were really interesting and occasionally touching.  The play itself was just a mess.  The problem with calling it absurdist is that it's just not funny.  It's obviously meant as anti-globalization, but the character you sympathize with is the white man, the CIA agent, the American.  You never really warm to the revolutionary, who's so bombastic and self-absorbed, that he doesn't even really see the plight of the South American natives (who he calls Indians!)  Bizarre.  And SO boring.  It made me wish I was watching a Jungle Toon: maybe The Jungle Book or even Tarzan.  I don't remember wishing for my own death during those.