By Laura Caton
Day three of Fringe Festival started off completely differently than any previous Fringe. Because it started in my home. Which isn’t to say I don’t usually start these days at home. Just that that’s not usually where the performances start. But this time, I was booked for Kitchen Not-So Confidential, a show in which a selection of performers from various Fringe shows would come to your house, do whatever kind of cleaning you asked them to, and talk about or perform part of their show. This was replacing a show called Dishwasher, which was an extremely similar concept, except it was one person who would show up, wash your dishes, and cold-read a monologue of your choice.
I feel like I got lucky with the change in format, because the people who were sent to do my bidding were Jon, Justin, and Micah from Laughs Angeles and Ian Insect from Erase Every Line (and partly HR for Comedians). We talked for a while in my living room before setting them to work. Since I had seen both of Ian’s shows the previous night, he gave a mostly-spoiler-free rundown of HR for the LA guys, and then got to washing dishes. I had done laundry earlier that morning, so I had a heap of clothes to fold. Justin leapt at the chance to show off his Kondo-folding skills, teaching the technique to me and Micah. Since I’ll be seeing their show tonight, I asked if they had any cut material that wouldn’t be in the act, and got a good bit on Chinese food menus. We also had a sort of roundtable discussion on the nerd/geek/dork breakdown. If this new Fringe feature is repeated next year, I’d definitely recommend going for it. It’s a great way to get a more personal interaction with some of the artists from the festival (and it worked out for me because Ian was able to fill in all the actors’ names I was missing from my Day 2 write-up). Just don’t be a jerk and leave a ton of caked-on grease on your dishes.
After a slight website slip-up that had me at the Ace Hotel a couple hours early, my next show of Day 3 was (a) Postmodern Jazz, a performance piece from The Pillow Projects. Postmodern Jazz is derived from an improvisational dance exercise Pearlann Porter, an Artistic Director for the Project, has used with her dance students at Point Park University. The performers for this show were five of her upperclassmen from PPU. The idea of the piece is that at any one time, there is a lead dancer, who is supported by the other four. Most of the time, she has her eyes closed, trusting her partners to make sure she is safe at all times. This manifests in several ways. Sometimes the lead dancer is guided into certain poses by the support dancers, but other times she will strike a pose, or lean in a certain direction, trusting that they will be there. The cooperation allows the lead dancer to do things she couldn’t on her own – an extreme lean, balanced by two supporters holding her from the other side, or elongating a slide with a pull assist. As Porter says during the act “How much you can let go depends on how much you feel supported.” Another concept she cited is that each trust builds on the last. And as the performance went on, the dancers seemed to fall into a more comfortable rhythm, with moves from the non-leads being not just functionally supportive but adding aesthetically to the lead dancer. I thought it was an interesting way to spend an hour, and if you agree, you might want to check out The Space Upstairs, The Pillow Projects’ home above the Construction Junction on Lexington Street.
My last show of the night was the Story Slam, also held at the Ace Hotel. This open mic storytelling event was hosted by Joanna Lowe of Cup-A-Jo Productions. After Lowe’s introduction, she called storytellers up to share their experiences centered on the theme of rebellion. The participants ranged from professional storytellers to people who had just shown up to see a performance and decided to take a chance. The audience was treated to tales of raising a rebellious son, learning to drive in secret, drawing the attention of the FBI, cutting off a rival’s braid, foreign travel, and choosing one’s own path in parenthood. Each storyteller had their own style, and it was a great chance to hear from a diverse group of Fringe participants. Definitely looking forward to next year!
Now, to prepare for the final day of Fringe 2019. A day of comedy and crayons.
Categories: Archived Reviews