Posts Tagged ‘Peter Roth’

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.

Snake Oil

September 25th, 2015 No comments

Snake Oil

Snake Oil by Arwen Mitchell

Hop Fro is a delicious beer. Very delicious. A quick, seasonal from Fat Heads brewery; and a damn fine brewery it is. It makes delicious sandwiches. And delicious beer. And you know what else is delicious? Snake Oil at Ohio City Theatre Project. Very delicious. I think if you re-read this and think in your mind of Will Ferrell acting the part of George W, it works. It’s in the cadence.

Snake Oil is awesome. It was good fun. Mostly clean fun. Okay, not really. Arwen Mitchell’s piece is a Brechtian delight: overthetop costuming, outrageous plot, songs, placards, audience intimidation, with archetypal characters dashing about. And Sade Wolfkitten (Yay!!) of convergence fame stroking the accordion: adding the ooompah to the frivolity. The play has the subdued spirit of Wizbang in it’s vaudevillian shorts, but the plot is as risqué as any ca. 2015 bit of reality tv naughtiness. All of which is captivatingly captured by Kilbride (Amy Schwabauer), who dances and strides around the countryside (Canopy Collective) with a pair of torpedoes blazing across her bow. Apologies for slipping into pirate speak, of a sort. Schwabauer is a fiery streak of silk energy in a Moulin Rouge dress: kicking, dancing, and fighting her way across the landscape. Stuart Hoffman steals the show, seriously, in a bit of acting that absolutely should not be missed. Hoffman shows a strong mastery of facial expression, farcical energy, and crash characterization that carries some sections of the production. His devilish character (Dryeth) is the trickster at the crossroads and Hoffman wears all the masks. The devil has put his finger on poor Delacourt (Kyle Adam) who is only trying to sell his elixir of life, with the help of his sweet Kilbride. I’ve not seen Adam in anything before, but I see he’s in something coming up at Dobama. He does a great job of selling the huxter shtick: the song, the cadence, the energy, and the spontaneous oratory. He does a good drunk as well… in the play. I’ve no knowledge of how good a drunk he is (or isn’t!) elsewhere.

I’ll not give away the plot except to say that Kilbride and Delacourt claim themselves to be from Nice, France—which they pronounce like Midwesterners discussing the decision to bring Old Aunt Edna some flowers up in Eastern Star nursing facility earlier today. The emissaries from Nice are glad to meet their host country folk in a town they call “Best.” They sell their elixir, which turns out to be a liquid that induces somnolence in the “Johns” that Kilbride has made arrangements with. Once out, Kilbride robs the men blind inside their own houses, or offices, or whatever. A brilliant bit of New World grifting. In steps the menacing yet, strangely, happy-go-lucky journalist, Dryeth, who squeezes a story from our daring duo. Dryeth promises a sale, but instead delivers destruction, splitsville. A tale as old as the Moses testament and dangerous as God’s wrath. Angels and Insects, baby.

Sarah Greywitt directs and does excellent work using the space and no doubt the design aspects. She explains at the outset where the stage is (dashed lines of red tape in a discrete rectangle to the ‘front’ of the house). But she continues that the space will be broken. The actors will be out of the lines and about. She invites us, as audience, to move around too. Change perspective. (But don’t interfere with the actors.) The life of the wandering Snake Oil salesman is invoked, the set is excellent with highlights that create an impression, a reference to the whole. Greywitt keeps the play rolling and balances the energy of the actors and the energy of the script.

I’m not telling how the story ends. But see it. Experience it. Have fun. Laugh, cry, rejoice. Saw Peter Roth there, and his lovely wife Olivia. A wonderful eve of thee in cle. Buy some cool shit from Canopy Collective, too.

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