(Note: The above little video is one that I made outside the Phoenix Theatre with Minnesota-based storyteller Loren Niemi on my trusty iPhone during the main Indy Fringe Festival last summer but for one reason or another never posted. I should have stood closer to Loren while I was filming so that the volume would be more even (maybe that is why I never posted it), but you can at least get a sense of what he looks and sounds like. And since I don’t have another publicity photo to use with this mini-review, I’m going with this video.)
Tonight I drove to the Indy Fringe Theatre in the Mass. Ave. theatre district of Indianapolis to see Loren Niemi’s solo theatre show, “Moby Dick Tonight.”
I am very, very sorry that I arrived too late to be able to write a proper review of it. Here are some quick thoughts about it instead:
My email box is filled to bursting again, but I won’t have time to do another mailbox post until next week, so I want to just quickly mention three, no, four things going on this weekend that particularly appeal to me:
Last Sunday I drove to Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indianapolis to hear a tribute to one of my favorite singers. I was surprised and delighted to learn that “Always…Patsy Cline” is not “just” Christine Mild as Patsy singing song after song – although I am sure I would have enjoyed that, too, because Christine Mild is stunning in this role – but also the story of an actual friendship that developed between Patsy and one of her fans, Louise Seger.
The show is funny, touching, musically satisfying…a true pleasure.
Last Friday night I stayed late at the Indy Fringe building in downtown Indianapolis to see another of the five winning plays in the first annual, juried “DivaFest” – a celebration of local women playwrights, sponsored by the Indy Fringe Festival.
This one was called “Madwomen’s Late Nite Cabaret.” It was written and directed by Julie Lyn Barber. She also starred in it along with Amanda Hummer, Erica Dumond, Ben Asaykwee and Darrin Murrell.
A week ago Friday night I drove through stormy weather to the Indy Fringe building in downtown Indianapolis to see the premiere of “Dash Thirty Dash,” written by Amy Wimmer Schwarb and directed by Matthew Roland.
This was one of the five winning plays in the first annual juried “DivaFest” – an event developed by the now year-round Indy Fringe Festival to celebrate and encourage women playwrights.
It was about recent cataclysmic changes in the news industry, shown through the experiences of the staff of a small, local newspaper in Florida. Their lives change completely just in the short time between 2004 and 2008.
I had to work hard to understand what anyone in the cast was saying, either because they mumbled or they didn’t speak loudly enough, but what I could hear, I loved. The piece was rich with fascinating details related to both the Florida setting and newsroom culture. The story gave me a lot of good food for thought for my own life.
A week ago Friday night I ignored tornado threats and drove downtown to the Mass. Ave. theatre district of Indianapolis to see productions of two of the five winning scripts in the year-round Indy Fringe Festival’s first annual DivaFest weekend. According to the IndyFringe website, DivaFest is “a celebration of women playwrights.” Its purpose is “to shine a light on women writers as they tell their stories for the stage.”
“A jury of theater professionals” selected 5 scripts from 29 entries and IndyFringe provided rehearsal space and other support for presenting them on the stage of the IndyFringe building.
Of course I am glad that this gala raised $367,398 for its important cause this year. (Source: David Hochoy, member of the Spotlight 2010 Steering Committee.) How impressive that!
But also, selfishly, I am glad for the annual chance to sample and feel proud of Indianapolis’ wealth of live performing arts companies. The two-act Spotlight program includes several short pieces of live theatre, dance, music, and more.
I am sorry that I won’t have time to write about the pieces that each performing arts group contributed to the show. I enjoyed them all, however, very much and so I want to quickly (hah!) list-and-link them here on my blog “for the record.” Here they are, in the order that they appeared on the program:
Theatre Review: “Dash Thirty Dash” at IndyFringe DivaFest
Theatre Review: “Madwomen’s Late Night Cabaret” at IndyFringe DivaFest
Theatre Review: “Always Patsy Cline” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. (And since this show runs through June 6, 2010, I will tell you right away that whether or not you are a country music fan, this show is a treat. It is a satisfying musical tribute to the late Patsy Cline, but it also a moving and funny show about friendship and the power of musical storytelling in general. Plus there are lots of beautiful dresses.)
If I have time, something related to the copious, compulsive notes I took at the Steven Dietz interview last month and the DivaFest panel of advisors this month.
In the meantime, here are a few items from last weekend’s gallivanting and from my email box, in random order:
I had been looking forward to this event ever since Olga mentioned her “Nepantla” piece at the 2008 Going Deep: Long Traditional Stories Festival. It was, as I had expected: enjoyable, uplifting and thought-provoking.