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A Life in Five Acts

December 28th, 2015 No comments

Bob: A Life in Five Acts

Postcard design by Bill Lynn

Postcard design by Bill Lynn

Caught BOB: A life in five acts at convergence on 12/11.

I had the chance to read/hear/participate in this script at my good friend Peter Roth’s house on Monday, September 24, 2012. Man, that’s quite a ways back. So, my interest in seeing the play at convergence was heightened, and I was not disappointed.

As Geoffrey Hoffman, director, noted in the program:

“Bob is an everyman and a representative of The American Dream… He is born with nothing and becomes a passionate adventurer—part myth, part reality, and completely legendary.”

Bob is born in the bathroom of a White Castle, so things can only get better right? He wanders the American landscape, exposing the bankrupt culture that we all have come to know and, eh em, love. From museums to rest stops to casinos and un-earned statues; from waif to sexy man to affluent someone-or-other to side-show barker—- Peter Sinn Nachtrieb makes a fillet of the prototypical American soul. Bob is funny, poignant, and sometimes frightening as we stare down the black rabbit hole that is our American existence.

Bob uses one main character and a chorus: a technique in plays that has come around recently from its old Greek days and which remains a highly versatile tool for play constructing and random character deployment. Doug Kusak is great as Bob and is always fun to see at convergence. I was equally happy to see Robert Hawkes and Katie Nabors, who always shines when she’s on stage: from Poor Little Lulu to The Underpants to certain crazy workshops inspired by Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant with one Jeffrey Frace.

Geoff did a great job of keeping the pace up, the story moving, and discovering innovative uses for the chorus when they were only voices out of the dark… Cool use of multimedia with location projections, as well.

Tear it Off

August 15th, 2015 No comments

Tear it OffTear it Off. Get to it. See it. Experience it. Mike Geither hit a homerun with this play about two lonely sisters who pass their time recording their enactments of romance novels that they’re writing. Like the playful games and skits children enact, the two sisters, Beth (Lucy Bredeson-Smith) and Bridget (Lauren B. Smith), create the stories in three dimensional space: sneaking, exploring, eating, paddling canoes, and scaling the terrain of their imaginations. It’s like watching a devised theater piece being created, except the lonely sisters actually know how to tell a story.

It’s conceivable that the two sisters could have gone on like this forever, but for the visitation of Charles, the handyman/plumber (Terrence Cranendonk) who becomes the object of obsession for both sisters, who don’t miss a beat in including him in their story. Tensions rise. Shirts are torn off. Sex is in the air.

Charles has a brother, Tim (Beau Reinker), who quickly comes to the aid of this bodice-ripping plot by filling the role of the sinister brother. A petty crook all his life, Tim quickly complicates things for Charles and the sisters.

I’m not going to spoil the story for those of you reading this by revealing the turns of Geither’s tale, but it is sufficiently entertaining for you to go and watch it yourselves. Geither creates a magnificent landscape of the mind while using a sparse set. Limited props are used effectively: glasses, pitcher, water, tape recorder, a coin, a shirt, a book, a phone. But perhaps most effective is the braids of two stories: one imagined and one real, that entwine to tangle the lives of the people in Geither’s play.

Directed by Karin Randoja (who directed Mike’s hilarious play Living Tall) many years back, and who does a fantastic job keeping this story moving along while letting the fantastic actors make their choices in dynamic splendor.

Well worth the time and money. Get to convergence and Tear it Off. Runs through September 5.

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