Saturday, August 27, 2016

Microtheater



So many pictures, so little time.  One of the productions I shot at the St. Louis Fringe last night was a series of five brief acts, all 20 minutes or less, performed in a tiny space, in rotation throughout the evening. 

The first and third photos are from a play with choreography about a woman who became a dancer, despite much pain in her life. (The first one makes me think of Canio in I Paggliacci.) The second picture is from a play about a very intelligent and morbidly obese woman called The Imaginary Boyfriend. I have no idea what the fourth one is about. This young man was bouncing and tumbling around the small room with The Who's Cobwebs And Strange playing very loudly. The last one is from a dance piece done nearly in the dark, lit only by strips of LEDs and flashlights.

Final shows this afternoon and tonight. Still time  to get over there and see some great work. Closing party at KDHX on Washington at 9 PM.






Friday, August 26, 2016

Lou The Flamingo


The St. Louis Fringe has a new mascot this year, Lou the Flamingo. I'm not going to try to figure out the significance. The bird is not native to our area. Citygarden already uses the flamingo as a sort of a mascot. But, hey, it's cute and funny and gets your attention. And it's not nearly as dorky as Fredbird

Back shooting the last two days of the festival starting tonight. Lots still to see. Locals, check out the schedule and buy tickets here.           

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rap-Off


So one of the variations on the Fringe's Midsummer Night's Dream parody was what you might call a rap-off. Cast members wearing oversized baseball caps, including the traditional New York Yankees' hat (although the one in the third picture says Pickleman's Cafe - just a little extra joke), assume the identity of a character in the play, hurling rhymed insults at one another. Demetrius calls out Lysander's momma. Oberon and Titania diss each other over Pucks tricks. And so on. Pretty clever.

It's been a really bad week at work and I had a couple of thousand pictures from last weekend. Tough doing sorting, editing and getting posts written. I'll plod ahead as I can. More to come this Friday and Saturday.   




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Consent


One of the sections of Or What You Will was a skit called Consent. A way too peppy teacher is talking to what appear to be a high school sex ed class. The students are bored into a stupor. It's all that no means no and yes means yes stuff. Can a man go onto the, um, next step without specific consent from the woman, a spoken yes? No, teacher. And so on.

But eventually the subject of Puck comes up, although not by name. Is it okay for someone to take a juice from a magic flower and sprinkle it on the eyes of a sleeping person, making them love the first person they see when they awake? No, teacher. Has the sleeping person given consent to fall in love with that first person? No, teacher. At which point the actor playing the sprinkler states in a stuttering monotone I am sorry I did the wrong thing. I will go away now. The actress playing the sprinklee says in the same kind of voice I do not wish to marry you. Goodbye. Cut. 

As Puck himself said, what fools these mortals be.  




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Or What You Will, Part Deux, Part 1


Ok, so I think this is the deal. Start with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. (You know it, right? Or not.) Apply William S. Burroughs' (a proud son of St. Louis) cut-up technique, using scissors to slice pages of text into chunks and re-arrange them randomly. Turn the drama into a contest, scene versus scene, with the audience voting for their favorites.  Attempt to perform this with a group of young actors on acid and speed. You may end up with Or What You Will, Part Deux.

I don't have time this morning to provide more details but this deserves another post. We're going to the baseball game tonight so I'm not sure when I'll get it uploaded.           

Or What You Will Par Deux 7

Or What You Will Par Deux 5

Or What You Will Par Deux 9

Monday, August 22, 2016

Keith Joszef's Unspeakable Acts


We did four shows at the St. Louis Fringe Festival yesterday. All fascinating, making it hard to pick just one for the blog today. Or What You Will, Part Deux has to make into these pages. It was like Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream on acid and speed. But today's feature is magician Keith Joszef. We've seen other magic acts in the previous four seasons of The Fringe but nothing like this. 

Joszef appears to swallow eleven sewing needles from a wine glass. Then he puts a length of thread in his mouth. A moment later, he pulls them out one by one, the eyes perfectly threaded. These were real needles. There was no question when I zoomed on them during editing. How? How?

Of course, there were unfathomable card tricks. In the bottom photo a dollar bill vanishes from his hand while an audience member grasps his wrist, insuring that nothing went in or out of his sleeve.

Before the performance I asked Joszef if there was any part of the act he might not want me to photograph. Nothing, he said. He can manipulate the camera as well as the eye. I tried to figure some of these out by zooming way in. No way. 




Sunday, August 21, 2016

Finite/Infinite


Five shows to shoot yesterday and I thought four of them were terrific. (Nobody's perfect.) Hard to choose which to feature today. I absolutely must get to the Donald Trump puppet show musical, but this one was a stunner.

Dancer Melanie Harvengt and choreographer Paige Walden-Johnson presented a 40 minute modern dance performance called Finite/Infinite. It was inspired by the works of Søren Kierkegaard, although it wasn't necessary to know his philosophy. The setting was a black box theater. The dancer was surrounded by white, silver and clear balloons. Photos do not convey the whole effect.