June 8th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival: Fun For The Entire Family!

JEAN LERMA

“MixTape”
Performed by Theatre 3

I didn’t know what to expect when I chose this show. Perhaps my brain malfunctioned when I read the program; perhaps I prefer to go into shows as blank as a clean slate (which I do prefer). But after it started, it was obvious. It’s exactly what they say, “Physical Variety Show.” Clowning and miming; innocent fun for the whole family! I was immediately transformed into a child and enjoyed every minute.

We first meet R. G. Chesterton entering from the main aisle, pulling a large steamer trunk on a dolly behind him. Then we meet his lovely assistant who plays the roles of other characters. From there, we progress into lovely vignettes. The thing I like about physical comedy is that you rely purely on visuals to convey the story. You concentrate on the actions and clues to pull you through, and the suspense is part of the fun. Some vignettes were long, others were not long enough. I found the old man and the necktie to be a little too long. Perhaps he didn’t need to amble along so slowly? The segment about the hat, “The Hat That… (Part 2)” was so enjoyable, I almost didn’t want it to end. Very funny. That required audience participation and it was FUN! Audience members were eager to clown around with RG.

I don’t want to spoil the show by telling you what I saw. Suffice it to say that the show was wonderful. In fact, I’m bringing my son with me for the last performance. I hope he enjoys it as much as I did!

LAST PERFORMANCE
Saturday, June 8 @ 3:30pm
Venue: Elementz

June 7th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival: Travels in Time and Space

JEAN LERMA

 

“The Space Between My Head and My Neck”
Performed by Shark Eat Muffin Theatre Company

Veteran Fringe playwright Catie O’Keefe’s play was brought to Cincinnati Fringe Festival by director Laura Boggs. The show boasts no beginning, no middle, and no end. The fact that you are left to fill in the backstory means that every audience member sees something different. Of course, if you assumed premise is wrong, which you may learn to be true as you keep watching, it doesn’t follow that it in any way takes away from the enjoyment of the performance.

The play mostly takes place on an airplane. We meet the characters at certain moments in their lives, where their thoughts surround important life events. A woman, Dolly, speaks to her absent fiance’ about buying the wrong eggs. Two stewardesses, Megan and Krissy, discuss the importance of their work, and how to be successful at it. A pregnant teen, Lois, flies out to speak to the father of her twins; a one night stand she met through her cousin. Siblings Megan and Mark encounter each other after a bad row. Dolly’s fiance’, Huw, meets Lois. He encourages her confidence to be a good mother, and convinces her that she’s beautiful and glowing with her pregnancy. More scenes follow, including some that take place in the twins’ home.

All random scenes, all stressful scenes, yet all reveal key aspects of the passengers. I cannot say the story moves forward, since it’s not really going anywhere, but it jumps around the timeline of their lives. They are glimpses of these people’s lives with, perhaps, an airplane in common. In the end, we see a sort of resolution, and how much more interwoven their lives really are. Still, it maintains the feeling of floating between full understanding of what was going on, and feeling you might be missing something important. I did enjoy speculating what’s going to happen next. I also liked trying to figure out how these people were related to each other, if they were related at all.

This show was the most Fringe-y I’ve seen yet. It was fluid, cerebral, and kept you wondering. The individual stories drew you in, and the acting performances were all very good. Sound and lighting were well coordinated, giving clues as to the state of things. I can see why it enjoyed a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you like that vagueness of story and pondering what it all means, then I do recommend this show. I did enjoy it a lot.

June 7th, 2013

Mother ?

Mater Facit. The vibe while waiting for the show to begin was saturated with the beatnik jazzy vibration of a guitarist & bassist, with a cool factor transitioning to a complete trip you up with an odd folk throwback of German sounds.
It’s a corky pretty lullaby that sings the reality of a weary morbid life of war. This made for a truly weird experience. The show piers into the thought of what tyranny is like. A type of tyranny put upon a country by it’s govt through the deceit of pride for a tyrant’s nation without thinking of the consequences of unnecessary loss of a loved one. In this a case a child.

The sudden pulls of emotion made for a great thinker. The performance was spectacular and I left laughing, wanting to cry, and definitely feeling weirded out.

Go see some Fringe while it lasts. Two nights left. Tonight’s after party is with Molly Wellman as celebrity bartender. Cocktails yeah!

-Latria

June 6th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival: Emily And The Master

Jean Lerma

“Shut UP, Emily Dickinson”
By Tanya O’Debra

“‘Shut UP, Emily Dickinson’ is based on a trio of letters called “The Master Letters”. The recipient of the letters is unknown, addressed only to Master, but they are clearly romantic in nature. One Dickinson poem is used in the play: I Hide Myself Within My Flower.” – Show Program

I was curious to see why they titled the show in this way. I know nothing about Emily Dickinson other than she was obsessed with death and wrote tons of poems. So I went online and did some research. The master letters are very vague, which to me, explains the direction they took in creating this show.

We first meet The Master, a “disembodied” voice with whom Emily has real conversations. Emily is introduced to us by The Master. He warns us that we will tire of her as much as he has. We have been duly warned. His influence on her is very strong, yet Emily is strong-willed as well. She is stubborn and cajoles The Master into doing things he doesn’t want to do.

One of the fun aspects of the play were the obvious inclusions and references to modern -isms, props, and references. At one point, she pulls out her cell phone and says, “Checking into my desk. Oh, look! I’m still the Mayor!” Yes, the show is very funny, but it also has its poignant moments, as well as moments of fear. We bounce between their sarcasm toward one another, and her begging for his love and acceptance. She allows that The Master has such power over her that she is helpless to follow his commands, some of which seem to border on Dom/Sub tendencies. She gives in at the end, and we are surprised with a truly humorous moment. As she slowly takes off her clothes at the command of The Master, we see that she strips down to leggings and a t-shirt of none other than Justin Bieber.

We are inside Emily’s head, experiencing her dementia as well as her lucid moments. They argue, she recites poetry to placate him. She tries to banish him, but she calls him back. He threatens to leave her forever, and she begs him to return. It’s a strange relationship, but it’s a good ride!

June 6th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival – FringeNext Production: “Persephone’s Prerogative”

Jean Lerma

“Persephone’s Prerogative”
Performed by Pear of Artists

When I was asked to review some Fringe shows for Make Cincinnati Weird, I went online, opened the program to the center section, and made random selections based on their names and descriptions. I admit that I didn’t notice that some were marked FringeNext. All I saw was the name, and if the description appealed to me, I signed up for that show. And it’s a good thing too! In the past, I’ve shied away from watching FringeNext productions, being hesitant to watch a show that is TOTALLY written and acted by high school students. Apparently, there’s nothing to worry about. The production was good. I was entertained and even laughed out loud in appropriate places.

“Persephone’s Prerogative” is from SCPA (The School of Creative and Performing Arts) students calling themselves “Pear of Artists”. It was performed in SCPA’s Black Box Theatre, which is set up as a thrust stage. I sat in the last row in the center of the center section; the better to view the action all around without feeling I’m at Wimbledon.

The play opens with Julia, the host of a reality television show, on the phone with her boss. She is followed by her cameraman Brian. While they set up on one side of the stage, we find out that the show is threatened to get axed. This phone call was their final warning to boost ratings. On the other half of the stage, another scene is set up with two actresses waiting to audition. One is an earnest young hopeful blonde named Anne, the other is a brunette named Meryl, who is sassy with an attitude. Their scene starts off with me confused. Why is the brunette picking a fight with the blonde? What is her motivation? They’ve just met! Anne’s character takes it in stride and figures that Meryl is just weird.

Back to Julia and Brian, it is revealed that her idea to boost rating is to place two hopeful actresses in a fake audition and see what happens. Seems a weak idea at best; all auditions I’ve ever been to were boring, including the cattle calls where hundreds of people stand in line and wait their turn. Mostly, you meet nice people and sometimes make new friends. But let’s see where this is headed. Meryl has been doing some paperwork, I assume it’s a questionnaire, and makes some mistakes, prompting her to pull out some Liquid Paper from her bag. In her frustration, she gets some on her dress, and she doesn’t have any way to clean it up. So she grabs some scissors from her purse and starts to cut away the offending bits. But she gets carried away and cuts up the rest of her dress, while Anne watches in horror. Anne questions Meryl’s sanity, and at one point asks her, in a whispered, embarrassed voice, if she’s a lesbian. Meryl uses Anne’s discomfort to further rattle her, just to see how far Anne can go. It’s amusing, but still, these things aren’t likely to be canvassed at an audition waiting room. So they’re waiting in the room for hours with no one to come in and update them on the long wait or why they’re still waiting.

Back to the the crew, Julia has been on the phone with her boss who,  we find out earlier, is her father. He is not impressed. We’re now about halfway or so into the play. So far, the action seems disjointed. In a further scene with Anne and Meryl, things have died down and Anne returns to her arts and leisure magazine. Meryl asks how Anne could have any interest in such a subject, and they eventually end up discussing the famous sculpture of Persephone and Eros. So now, we are finally introduced to the theme of the play. Meryl thinks Persephone is weak. If Persephone is so important, she should have done more to break free from Hades instead of wallowing in her misery for half the year. Back to Julia, she feels the message of Persephone’s inability to do something more for the world and decides to quit working for her father and pursue whatever talent she has.

The end of the show is what pulled the loosely woven beginning together. I mentioned before that the action between the scenes seemed disjointed. The last fifteen or so minutes seemed finally find a rhythm, an obvious link to the adjoining scene. Dialogue was shared in a continuance of thought. It was a good way to gather the threads together. The show was good, performances were acceptable, however Brian’s interactions with Julia didn’t seem very professional. In fact, he seemed like a juvenile half the time. The writing was a little lost, but it was entertaining enough.

June 5th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival – FringeNext Production: “We Put The “FUN” In Funeral”

Jean Lerma

 

“We Put The “FUN” In Funeral”
performed by Big and Bigger Productions

Sold out? Practically. Audience members new to the Fringe experience? Mostly. The audience was full of supportive family and friends of the cast and crew. It was like attending a high school play. Many parents and extended family, many friends coming out to support the cast and crew. It was a crowd eager to be pleased, eager to be entertained, and proud to be able to attend. The performances? Did not disappoint. My first reaction after the lights went out? Wow, that was incredible! If I didn’t have a sore throat, I would have cheered louder.

We first meet the cast at a family Christmas party. Trey is the narrator and he introduces us to all his family. Each member, except his parents, has one thing about them that really bugs him, and you can’t help sympathizing with him. You know these people as members of your family. Proof that the writing was very good. As each character stepped into the limelight, their narcissism seemed normal. The scene ends with a fist fight between Trey’s father and his uncle. The next time we see them, they’re at Trey’s father’s funeral. As usual, family members are so absorbed that they, in Trey’s eyes, fail to show the appropriate sentiments and deference due to the memory, and body, of his father. Everyone is up to their same old self-absorption, and the scene ends with Trey telling off every single member of his family. As he stalks off into another scene, we see him blow up physically and emotionally. His saint of a mother comes and asks him to make peace with everyone in the other room, but he refuses. And part of you agrees with him. He was not in the wrong, he was the only one besides his mother to behave properly at the funeral. However, his cousin runs in with the bad news that their uncle has collapsed due to kidney failure; a result from his alcoholism. The last scene is at the hospital. It is eventually revealed that Trey is the only compatible family member who can donate a kidney. In his anger and resentment, he refuses, devastating all the family. Of course, each one tries to change his mind, and in the end he does. He finally gets some understanding and acceptance from each of them and feels comfortable in his decision. To the audience, though, he predicts the familiar family drama cycle will continue, but in a loving, “that’s my family” kind of way.

This was a fun story about a dysfunctional family that everyone can relate with. Characters may have been caricatures of real people, archetypical show pieces, but they were so loveable and so real. The main character, Trey, was passionate in his complaints, sincere in his frustrations, and yet, he wasn’t a whiner. All the ensemble performed very well. If they were to pursue their talents beyond this production, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at another Fringe festival. All were equally strong.

The story was penned by Jimmy Stratman and Hannah Regan, who gave an opening speech welcoming us all, thanking everyone sincerely, and acknowledging the various mentors in their lives. It was exciting to see their enthusiasm, and I was very proud of their accomplishment. I thought this production was so good, it should be performed at other Fringe festivals.

June 4th, 2013

Cincinnati Fringe Festival: Another Success for Four Humors Theater

Jean Lerma

“Lolita: A Three Man Show” by Four Humors Theater

Returning theatre group Four Humors presents “A one hour stage play, based on the two and a half hour movie by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 5 hour screenplay by Vladimir Nabokov, based on the 300 page novel by Vladimir Nabokov, as told by 3 idiots.” Clearly, a very lofty goal.

Ryan Lear plays James Mason as Humbert Humbert. His attempted accent is effective in drawing James Mason to mind, and yet the performance is ALL Lear. Lovely ingenue Sue Lyons who plays Lolita in the Kubrick film is played perfectly by Brant Miller. And Matt Spring plays Shelley Winters as Charlotte, Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty, and everybody else; quite a feat.

In the book, “the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged literature professor and hebephile Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. His private nickname for Dolores is Lolita.” 1 In this performance, Humbert’s fascination with Lolita is tangible and believable. Lolita’s teasing ways are a joy to watch as Humbert becomes a slave to her every whim. Charlotte’s manhunting was amusing, and Quilty put the fear of God into me. Watching three men act out love and passion for one another is highly entertaining. Musical accompaniment featured in the show to help build the mood or convey the inner feelings of certain characters, and the choices were awesome: Go Away Little Girl, Don’t Stand So Close To me, Young Girl, and more. I liked the way the actors broke from the performance from time to time to discuss editing, morals, book vs movie, or performance critiques. These discussions eventually lead to Miller refusing to participate in the show at the end, but Spring and Lear carry on to the finish. And Miller’s tantrum about what the story is REALLY about was a great ending.

All three actors are a joy to watch, and all did an excellent job, but I will tell you that the highlight of the show, for me, was seeing Lolita in a bikini. The show was a sell out, and in my opinion, all of their shows should sell out. If it hasn’t, get your tickets now!

1 Lolita, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita

Wed, June 5 @ 7:15pm
Sat, June 8 @ 5:00pm
The Know Theatre
Buy Tickets Here

February 27th, 2013

Make Cincinnati Weird Wants YOU

Hey Cincinnati!  Many apologies for the 4-month hiatus.  Those of the Make Cincinnati Weird team have been overwhelmed with other work and obligations… and we need to expand in order to make this blog the best that it can be.

As you probably already know, anybody is welcome to make a submission to info@makecincinnatiweird to get it published on the blog, whether it’s a blurb or article, photos, or for a happening or event.  However, a regular group of creative and dynamic team members can make all the difference…

So, we would like to put out an open call to everyone out there (in and around Cincinnati) to consider participating in Make Cincinnati Weird, whether in the writing, planning, and/or managing aspects of being a regular (and enthusiasm is ideal)!  Not time-consuming at all, if everyone chips in.  If interested, email us at info@makecincinnatiweird.com (or message us on Facebook) with any experience or blurb, or really anything you feel like saying.

Love,
MCW

October 24th, 2012

Introducing… UtopiaCon!

Guess what?  Cincinnati will have another brand new convention for all you weirdos!  It’s called… UtopiaCon!

It’s happening this October 26th – 28th at the Millennium Hotel Cincinnati — this weekend!

Via the website, www.utopiacon.com

“UtopiaCon is an eclectic convention that caters to Steampunk, Faerie, Gothic, Pirate, Medieval, Tribal, Celtic and all friends and fae of olde.”

There will be tons of entertainment and activities during the weekend, including… “Live performers, Shopping, Gaming, Classes & Panels, Drumming & Belly Dance Workshops, 5 Hour Concert & Dance, Fire Performers & so much more…”  (A fire performance is set to happen on Fountain Square on Friday night, and the 5-hour concert event is on Saturday.)

More highlights…

Over 11,000 Sq. Ft. of Exhibitor Shopping
Over 5,000 Sq. Ft. of Gaming
Magic the Gathering Tournaments
NEW Game release at UtopiaCon
Belly Dance & Drumming Workshops
3 Live Performance Stages
Art Show & Silent Auction
Kids and Adult Costume Contest
Fire Performance on Fountain Square
Kids Activities Area Imagination Isle
Sunday Spooktacular Trick or Treat event
and a Jubilee Event that you will never forget.

Check the website for more details and to get your tickets!

Submitted by Cory Tilbrook of UtopiaCon, Inc.

October 22nd, 2012

Zombie Walk Photo Follow-Up

We got photos!  Be prepared to see some pretty gory stuff… here’s the aftermath of the Zombie Walk from October 20th…  Click on each photo to see a larger version.

Photo credit goes to Barrymore Tebbs:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barrymore-Tebbs/130144447052675
http://barrymoretebbs.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!…

 

 

Submitted by Barrymore Tebbs