I knew I'd forget someone in my wrap up of "Fringligations:" the shows I have to see because my friends are involved. And it's See You Next Tuesday by Walking Shadow. Which is odd because I a) love Walking Shadows shows—the last Fringe show I paid to see was one of theirs—and b) I must be friends with them because I have no trouble remember the names of Amy and... the other one. You know who I mean. Talented writer. Beard guy. John! Plus it has the lovely Leigha Horton in it, which makes it doubly embarrassing.
I could probably talk my way out of this one, but in the spirit of artistic discovery and navel-gazing, I've decided to Examine My Feelings.
So I'm not exactly sure why I skipped over See You Next Tuesday as I was going down the long, long, long list of shows yesterday. Perhaps I just missed it. It's certainly a more subdued concept that their previous shows, about a military penguin and Shakespearean zombies, but I've loved every show of theirs I've seen and I've enjoyed watching them grow to become one of the most solid companies in this burg. A simple oversight? No, clearly I want to destroy the Walking Shadow Theater Company.
Oh God, my life makes so much sense now!
So, I'll be seeing See You Next Tuesday before stabbing at them from Hell's heart, etc, etc.
The Out of Towners (not the crummy movie)
There's very little middle ground, I find, when it comes to the Out of Town shows. I'll either going to see something that will change my whole perception of theater, like The Cody Rivers Show or The Pumpkin Pie Show (PRO TIP: name your company "The (blank)(blank) Show" to get a good review! Guaranteed!), or you'll see something so godawful I imagine that they're here because they were run out of their hometown just ahead of the pitchforks and torches, banjo "gitaway" music in the background.
It was different this year. There was a lot of "okay" in the Out of Towners Showcase. A lot of "possibles."
And then Casebolt and Smith took to the stage.
I didn't see their show last year, because it was dance, and I don't get dance. By which I mean, "I don't get why this is entertaining to other people." I understand the skill, I mean, I understand how hard dance is; I took three semesters of it and my skill level could be tactfully described as "running 50,000 volts through a frozen chicken." But I still do not understand the grammar of most dance shows. It's too abstract, and the abstract belongs to the Holy, whereas I am very much in the Rough camp.
Go ahead and thumb through that copy of The Empty Space. I'll wait.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Casebolt and Smith. The show's title is O(h), which is pretty rotten ("Seen anything good?" "Oh." "Oh what?" "Oh!" "Oh what!?" "OH! OH! OH!" "Are you having an orgasm?" "Third base!") but the first sentence of their show description is "If you're sick of modern dance that takes itself way too seriously, this dance show is perfect for you," which could only be improved by changing it to "If you're sick of modern dance that takes itself way too seriously, this dance show is perfect for you, Bill Stiteler. Pie will be served during the performance."
Second, they have killer buzz. I've been hearing nothing but "Casebolt and Smith" from everyone I know every time Out of Towners have come up.
And third, they fucking tore the house down at the OOT showcase, with what was a very simple presentation starting a quiet moment of the two dancers sharing a microphone and explaining how their bodies were worn out, moving into basic dance steps, which then built into a riotous moment of "turning everyone gay" through dance. Short trip at the Fringe, but still.
The ideas are accessible, but not dumbed down. From both what I've seen and had described to me, they are breaking the grammar of dance down to basic elements and then building it back up, taking the audience along with them, building the Rough into something Holy which makes it into... (short essay question, 15 pts, support your thesis).
First Night (not a Shakespearean prequel)
The shows I'm seeing tonight:
The First Five Minutes Are Slow. Good title, and their preview was impossible to describe and make it sound good (three people moving around the stage with table lamps. A must see!). But it was so visually arresting I have to check it out.
Idiosynchronicity Rob Callahan is someone I've been seeing everywhere this summer, to the point where I'm reasonably sure he's some sort of manifestation of my tortured psyche. If he attacks Walking Shadow, we'll know for sure. His preview was funny and nerdy, so I'm pretty much required by law to see it.
The Jack Chick Plays is a show I'm going to see based on its title alone, as the ultra-right-wing religious comics were a constant prescence in my small town upbrining. I have not seen a preview, know anyone in the cast, or heard anything about it. I just believe that the presentation of Chick's world on stage would have to be entertaining as, well, Hell (although I have a secret hope that they'll do "Dark Dungeons," Chick's take on the world of role-playing games).