Tag: Gertrude Stein
|I don’t hire people who have to be told to be nice. I hire nice people.
— Leona Helmsley
|He that can’t endure the bad, will not live to see the good.
— Jewish Proverb
|We are always the same age inside.
— Gertrude Stein
|But seduction isn’t making someone do what they don’t want to do. Seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already.
— Waiter Rant, Waiter Rant weblog, 11-29-05
Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
|Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn
|Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.
— Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849
Looks like the “Homeless Man with the Golden Voice” got a job!
Collaboraction celebrates the creative spirit with Sketchbook X
|Sketchbook X: People’s Choice|
|at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map)
through June 27th | tickets: $20-$35 | more info
reviewed by Keith Ecker
What is a play exactly? Is it a dramatic staging of a story? Is it people moving around in a physical space in front of an audience? And furthermore, what separates a play from a sketch or a scene or even a performance art installation?
These are the questions I was left pondering after seeing Collaboraction’s tenth annual Sketchbook festival, a showcase of original mixed media performances. This year’s theme was “exponential.” Yes, it is fairly nebulous, and this is perhaps one reason why the output lacks a certain concreteness and cohesion. Characters and plot become secondary to evoking visceral emotions. Sketchbook X in many ways is more circus than drama.
This isn’t to say that the finished product is all spectacle and no substance. There are some standout pieces.
The one that clearly stands out the most is Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Unlike other pieces that become crushed under their own weight, Five Lesbians is a witty, stylized comedy. Devised by Evan Linder, the play features five women (Sarah Gitenstein, Mary Hollis Inboden, Beth Stelling, Maari Suorsa and Megan Johns) who head a local social club centered around a shared love of quiche. The women click and cluck like 1950s southern church ladies and harass the audience. When communist Russia bombs the outside world, all quiche is destroyed. The women go into a tizzy, which leads to their outings.
Five Lesbians works because it is the most refined piece of the festival. The script feels fully fleshed out, the actors are well aware of their characters and the comedic timing is impeccable. There is a lot of commitment, and there is little ambiguity. It has an aesthetic all its own that is so engaging I’d pay to see a full-length production.
Other standouts include Sacrebleu (devised and performed by Dean Evans, Molly Plunk and Anthony Courser), a pantomimed, slapstick comedy about two eccentric French fur trappers. The short monologue The Blueberry (written by Sean Graney and featuring Celeste Januszewski) is a thoughtful meditation on existence that explains string theory with blueberry imagery.
Other pieces, however, just don’t pan out. What I’m Looking For (written by Brett C. Leonard and featuring Joel Gross and Heather Bodie) is little more than a heavy-handed music video for a Rufus Wainwright song. Meanwhile, The Untimely Death of Adolf Hitler (written by Andy Grigg and featuring Eddie Karch, Anthony Moseley, Erin Myers, Greg Hardigan and Dan Krall) lacks enough wit to drive the piece beyond its premise. But you can’t expect all the pieces to be gems. Besides, if you don’t like something, just wait 7 to 10 minutes for another play.
As usual, Collaboraction has succeeded in making the festival feel like a big event. The interior of the Chopin Theatre is awash in glowing light and fog. Two large screens flank the sides of the stage and streamers stretch from the floor to the ceiling. It all makes for a breath-taking first impression.
If you want to see all 19 pieces in a row, you’ll have to see the show on a Saturday. Be warned, though. It’s a 4.5-hour long journey, though you are encouraged to come and go as you please.
Overall, Sketchbook X is a mixed bag of intriguing works. The majority of the pieces lack refinement, but there are a few plays that are polished treasures. The theme gets lost among the many productions, but I don’t think that’s the point. Rather, Sketchbook is more of a party that aims to celebrate the creative spirit, and in that sense, it succeeds.