Sunday, June 23, 2013


The second annual St. Lou Fringe has come and gone and although there were over two dozen performances varying from theatre and dance to workshops, music and street performances, I was only able to see two shows.  :(  Naturally I gravitated toward the theatre offerings, but that's the great thing about Fringe,  there's a wide variety of performance types and times to choose from.  Here's a look at This Is A Play, and Montana: The Shakespearean Scarface.

THIS IS A PLAY • R-S Theatrics

So, you've got a female actor, a male actor and an older female actor in an awful play about lettuce and small town family secrets.  Sounds pretty bad right?  But when the play is less about an actual play and more about the steady stream of each actors' inner thoughts, This Is A Play is anything but bad.  Through their inner monologues they berate the writer and the director for lines they don't get and directions they don't understand.  They also analyze their own performances, the performances of the other actors, and sometimes hang each other out to dry.
The female actor who plays "the niece" (Beth Wickenhauser) is dedicated to her craft and the play, as dreadful as it is, and tries to make the most of her scenes while putting up with her overacting cast-mate, the male actor (Casey Boland).  He plays "the stranger" and spends his time intently making the most of his entrances and trying to draw the attention of a casting director in the audience.  The older female actor, "the aunt" (Kirsten Wylder), is skilled and gains the admiration of her fellow cast members, but is largely indifferent about this stinker she's currently in and the less experienced ones she has to share the stage with.

Boland, Wickenhauser and Wylder brought the script to clever, convincing life with their self-consciousness, exasperation and scenery-chewing, and the perspective offered by the play, written by Daniel MacIvor and directed by Mark Kelley, was a highly entertaining one.


Written by Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Mark Kelley
Fubar Lounge, 3108 Locust St.
Run concluded | tickets: $10 with a Fringe Badge

Casey Boland (Male Actor), Beth Wickenhauser (Female Actor), and Kirsten Wylder (Older Female Actor).

MONTANA: THE SHAKESPEAREAN SCARFACE •  Out of the Ashes (of the NonProphet) Theater Company

Most people are familiar to some degree with the film Scarface, Brian De Palma's 1983 crime drama about a Cuban refugee's violent rise and fall as a drug cartel kingpin in Miami, starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana.  Using this classic film as their source material, the writers of this play, Robert A. Mitchell, Nick Tamarkin and Michael B. Perkins, have hit upon a simple truth, I think -- hearing foul language wrapped in iambic pentameter is just fun.  With guns exchanged for daggers, this stripped-down but otherwise faithfully re-created play takes us from Tony and his friends' arrival in the states and his employment by Frank Lopez ("Dost thou know what a Hassa is?  Not straight but crooked doth he fly"), to his wooing of Frank's girlfriend Elvira and pursuit of a family of his own ("Dreamest thou of progeny?"), his takeover of Frank's empire and eventual downward spiral (Bid good morrow to my little friend).  The fact that the Shakespearean rules were also faithfully adhered to makes it all the more impressive.  The cast is also impressive, led by Tom Lehman as Tony Montana who absolutely nailed the dialect  and attitude of Pacino's Montana.  The rest of the cast work hard playing multiple roles with quick changes and under Mitchell's direction, it moves along at a lively clip.  I hope they do another one next year!  


Written by Robert A. Mitchell, Nick Tamarkin and Michael B. Perkins
Directed by Robert A. Mitchell
Satori, 3003 Locust Street
Run concluded | tickets: $10 with a Fringe Badge

Tom Lehman (Tony Montana), Chris Ayala (Manny/Ninja), Courtney Gibson (Elvira/Hit Man 2/Ninja), Hannah Bailey (Gina/Reporter 1 Hot Girl/Hitman 2), Joe Hanrahan (Cop 3/Rebenga/ Hector/Lopez/Alberto/Ninja), Margeau Steinau (Mami/Marta/Cook/Hitman 1/Reporter 2/Informant's Wife/ Ninja), Reynard Fox (Cop 1/Waldo/Kid/Sosa/Comic/Fernando/Ernie/Jerry/Ninja), Rob Davis (Cop 2/Angel/Omar/Mel/Informant/Nick/Ninja) and Robert A. Mitchell (Man in Sunglasses).

Costume consultant, Linda Kennedy; sound technician, Laura Adams; seamstress, Courtney Gibson.

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