Last but Not Least: Fringe Day 3

Day three of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival brought a diverse lineup for me to review, and it began with Major, Part of Teen Fringe.  Why not give a chance to those who aspire to be the next Audrey Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Humphrey Bogart, or Jack Nicholson.  To deny them the chance would be anything but civilized, and after having seen the effort put out by those who starred in Major, well, I can only say they did a heck of a job.

I expected there to be apprehension, or noted mistakes, but the troupe of actors seemed quite at ease with their roles as they unfolded upon the stage.  The play had been written as a satirical look at the stereotypical personalities of aspiring young actors and actresses as they make their way through the very early parts of their careers.

Each of the players held true to their part, and performed well under the pressure of a packed house.  Many in the audience seemed to be friends or family, and if that made it more difficult or easier for the actors, no one could be the wiser as the play seemed to go off without a hitch.  It helped immensely when the audience laughed and applauded precisely when they were meant to giving the players the immediate feedback of a job well done!

The play Major, and the actors represent the future, and if the majority of these young adults’ who aspire to actors are as dedicated as these players were then without question the future will be very bright indeed.  And just maybe one of the two leading ladies from Sundays play just might be the next Audrey Hepburn with all of the glamour and style that she possessed.

When you have something as big as the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival there are bound to be SNAFU’s.  Schedule delays happen, and Major had been postponed by 30 minutes which made the next show St. Jimmy Celebrates “The Food at Our Feet” fall a bit behind schedule as well, but then like the ketchup that figured prominently in St. Jimmy’s show, it’s all about the anticipation.  Ah, for the love of ketchup.  I cringed when he ate mouthful after mouthful of it.

The oddity that delineates the show put on by Jimmy attempts to push the boundaries of what we define as entertainment.  Does he make fun of religion?  Does he poke fun at our society, sure, but not in some dark manner?  He does so with respect, and he draws out laughter from the crowd and I don’t believe he offended anyone.  I certainly did not take offense, and I’m willing to bet that I held the most conservative of viewpoints in the room, and I say if given the chance experience his show. He will amaze you.

I especially enjoyed the stories of his travels as he took a job basically seeking God, and as luck would have it he met him several times.  Most notably, I believe he met Jesus for the first time in Siberia.   He met Jesus again as he moved through East Asia.  If you are to believe in the adventures of St. Jimmy, and I do, then this man has lead an amazing life, and somehow through these incredible journeys he has been called to perform his works of entertainment in front of as many people as he can. I guess this calling would be something akin to being asked by God to become a priest.

Yet, no matter your denomination, or your viewpoints on God, you will enjoy the works of St. Jimmy, and when he asks you to take the jello, do so and immerse yourself completely into the show.

Intentional Icing, a play by C.S. Wyatt takes on the concept of a woman who has the skills and talent to reach the lofty height of the NHL.  What problems will she face, what barriers will she overcome?  Some of them are obvious and yet others not so.

The writing, and the acting supporting this play were exceptional and oh-so realistic.  At times I felt as though the stage slipped away, the false backgrounds filled themselves out, and the actors with their conflicts and plot nuances became all too real.  Tyson Sears played Robby Rowan, a one-time hockey star who had to face the end of his days on the ice.  He had grit, and sensitivity all rolled up into one.  This actor has a future out there, and I expect to see him again.  Cindy Jackson played the part of Joe Bulloch the woman who would make history in the NHL.  Imagine a woman on the ice checking, and skating, scoring and fighting.  It could change so much and I am sure somewhere a young lady battles, even now, for the chance to make it.  I’ve never even thought of the idea. It needs to happen.  Cindy played the part exceptionally.  Sure she had so much of the stereotypical qualities, but you would have to have them.  This woman would have to be tough, and hard headed, and stubborn.  She would no doubt have a chip on her shoulder the size of New York City, but she also could still be a woman, albeit a proud woman.  Cindy made me believe, and I became transfixed as the play unfolded.

All of the cast from the coach, to the reporter to the team’s owner are due a nod for their effort.  They had a chemistry that brought the play to life.  I loved it and would go see it again if the chance arose.

Ok, it had been a long weekend.  Hot and humid with too much golden sunshine heating the city.  It hadn’t rained, thankfully.   Resurrection screamed “different” from the start as I had to go to Fringe Central and ask the people there how to gain access.  They presented me with a piece of paper to sign and then they told me where and when to attend.  It felt surreal to me.  What had I gotten myself into?  I had to sign up for it, and lo and behold my name had been the only one on the list.

And so the adventure took me all the way to Tripoli Street where I located the venue.  I explained to the people at the door who I represented and they ushered me in, and the show began.  An hour later I discovered that I had just seen the wrong show, and as I proceeded to the front door they tapped me on the shoulder and said Resurrection could be found upstairs.  Filled with curiosity I wound my way up the stairwell which ejected me out into the remnants of an old church with pews and a decaying alter.  Here I would find Resurrection.  Within moments a tall blond haired woman shook my hand and the asked me to follow her which I did without hesitation.  She asked me to lie on the floor and take a few moments to gain some comfort.  She explained how she would be outlining my form in chalk.

“Similar to an outline if I had been murdered?”

“Precisely, now you can talk to me while I draw your outline, or be quiet.  This can be a new beginning.  You can let all that is wrong go”

“Like a Catholic Conffesion?”

“Yes, exactly!”

Now, I’m paraphrasing above, but you get the idea. And so I had my outline done, and then she cut the black paper where she had etched my image, and I stood.  She asked me to look and explain what I saw.  I said, me but small.  She said yes, and then rolled it up my outline and handed it to me.  The artist explained how her exhibit waited in this embryotic stage and it will change as it matures.  I agreed, thanked her and left.  I believe she gave her name as Hudson, and so with this memento of an outline, which I keep in the back seat of my car, I departed from the North Shore.  Pittsburgh Fringe had ended for me.  Somehow I am a bit more alone as I drive away. Resurrection?

Categories: Feature