For the final time slot (10:30 pm) of the first Friday of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, I and several(!) other people gathered at the main stage of Theatre on the Square to see “Assholes and Aureoles.” It was created by performers Diane Kondrat and Karen Irwin with Eric Pfeffinger. (Click here for the show’s MySpace page.)
Pfeffinger, you may remember, also co-wrote with Lou Harry the play “Midwestern Hemisphere,” which had its world premiere here in Indianapolis this past spring.
“Assholes and Aureoles” is a shocking and hilarious collection of mature-themed monologues and short plays, all performed by two phenemonal actors (Diane Kondrat and Karen Irwin.) While parts of my mind and heart were deeply engaged in the thought-provoking stories (more about them in a moment), another part of me kept thinking, “Man, what a treat it is to see these brave and talented actors at work! They are putting it all out there in a controlled way, and I get to see it.”
It was a pleasure. A real gift for this theatre junkie.
In one of the stories, about a young woman who wants to volunteer at a women’s shelter, the two actors play not only the naive, would-be volunteer and the cynical shelter employee, but also a battered, mail-order, immigrant bride; her abusive, red-necked husband; an Irish/Cockney friend; and a good-ole-boy police officer, each with his or her own distinct accent and mannerisms. The two actors embody each of the characters fully, and switch back and forth between them seamlessly. The effect reminded me of someone juggling silk scarves: delightful and much harder than it looks.
The content of the stories is “much harder than it looks,” too. As my friend Adrienne Reiswerg noted afterwards, “There’s a lot to talk about” in this show. It is enjoyable on an immediate, surface level for its fast pace, its humor, and its “did they really just say and do that?” outrageousness.
But underneath there are many, many layers of messages and questions.
Reviewer Lou Harry was in the house, too, so I will look forward to reading what he writes about this and/or other shows in the Indianapolis Business Journal.
There were lots of theatre people in the house, too, including Bonnie Mill, who, with her husband David Orr, is one of the co-founders of the new, professional Sapphire Theatre Company. I was glad to meet her; I am really looking forward to Sapphire’s opening production of “Lysistrata” this fall in the Circle Center Mall.
However, all night Friday night I was thrilled to see so many people that I did NOT know. Mass Ave felt as comfortably crowded and full of life this first weekend as it had on the second weekend of last year’s Fringe.
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com