For my 9:00 slot on the first Saturday night of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, I stayed put at the Phoenix Theatre and saw “The Best of the Blizzard.” This is a collection of several nano-plays* produced by the Bloomington (Indiana) Playwrights’ Project.
Some are better than others.
However, taken as a whole, they make for a fun hour.
Before I forget: one of the pieces has a loud (and smelly) gunshot in it. Just so you know.
From the itty-bitty program, I learned that the ensemble of actors presenting these nano-plays includes Michael Carey, Abby Dillion, Gabe Gloden, and Erin Sullivan. They were directed by Holly Holbrook. The actors are all young (I wonder if they are all college students) but they do a good job of bringing the gazillion characters to life.
The program lists several “coming soon” productions from the BPP as well, including a production of “Doubting Thomas,” by John Green. When I saw this news on the BPP website, I got all excited because I thought it was the same John Green who has won awards for his young adult novels, including Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and the due-in-October Paper Towns. He and his wife recently moved from New York to Indy. I got all excited because I hadn’t known he was also a playwright.
He is not. The writer of “Doubting Thomas” is another John Green.
But then I got all excited again because I read that “Doubting Thomas” will be directed by E. Gail Bray. I saw her most recently in “Well” at the Phoenix, but I have admired her theatre work since the first time she and her family lived here in Indiana, years ago.
Anyway (focus, Hope! remember, you’re trying to write fast and tight ’cause it’s Fringe Week!), the BPP’s Fringe “Blizzard” show is an enjoyable showcase of writers, including:
- Breshaun Joyner
- Rachael Himsel
- Lucinda Berry
- Jim Poyser (Hey! Doesn’t Jim Poyser write for Nuvo, too? I don’t have any more time this week to try to puzzle out his official title from the sometimes very annoying Nuvo.net website, but how cool is that, that he writes plays as well as being a journalist!)
- Gabe Bloden (Hey! He is one of the actors, too! I wonder if he was the Scandanavian-handsome blond man or the earthy-sweet bearded man.)
- Richard West
- Mark Anderson
- Nicholas Moore
- Greg Owens
- Scoti Pelnin
- Doug Bedwell (Hey! Didn’t he write the award-winning “Radio Active Space Bear” for last year’s Fringe? Why, yes he did! I know because I wrote about that quirky-fun show for Indiana Auditions.com.)
- April Smallwood
Some of the playwrights have more than one play in this collection.
I didn’t notice the programs on my table until the lights came up at the end and fellow storyteller/writer Lou Ann Holman pointed them out to me. So…I’m afraid I can’t tell you by title which pieces were my favorites. I’ll describe just a few of them, and if you can help me out with their titles, please leave a comment.
I loved the play in which two guys are watching a disgusting video. It is hilarious.
I also loved the play about the couple arguing about going to Paris. (Maybe that is “Trip,” by Jim Poyser.)
Oh! But maybe “Trip” is the one about Mr. Baxter and his tour-guided guilt trip. Hah! I am laughing again, remembering that one. I loved the line about “excusercize lessons.”
The one about the man who thinks he is attractive just because he knows a million ways to give hugs is a hoot, too. As is the one about a couple at the end of their first date. The man asks, “What would happen if I tried to kiss you?” The woman gives him a very complete, and funny, answer.
I also loved the one about a City-County Council person trying to control an obnoxious constituent. (Maybe that is “Democracy Inaction” by Lucinda Berry?)
Most of all, I appreciated the fact that there is a nice mix of monologues, dialogues, and ensemble pieces. The pace of the show as a whole is very fast. It reminded me of Indiana weather: if you don’t like what are experiencing right now, just hang on. It will change in a moment.
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
*Do you like that word? I invented it myself. A nano-play is short, like a nano-second. Get it?