Mailbox: Exciting Theatre News About Phil the Void!

Holy smokes!  Have you heard?  Phil Van Hest, aka Phil the Void, aka the hilarious, long-time Indy Fringe performer who has been comfortably based in Los Angeles the whole time I have known him, aka the beloved purveyor of gnome saying bumper stickers and BattleCat trading cards,  is definitely MOVING TO INDIANAPOLIS this spring!

Continue reading Mailbox: Exciting Theatre News About Phil the Void!

2010 Indy Fringe – Last Day – Tweet Highlights and a Couple Other Reviews

(Photo above taken by me with my trusty iPhone.  The beautiful artwork on the buttons is by Lydia Burris.  Her larger, and even more beautiful, original IndyFringe piece was unveiled around the beginning of August 2010 and will be on display on the side of the Firefighters’ Memorial at the intersection of College and Massachusetts Avenues in downtown Indianapolis for one year.)

Well, another Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival draws to a close.  What a satisfying week it has been, both personally and artistically. 

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe – Last Day – Tweet Highlights and a Couple Other Reviews

2010 Indy Fringe: Day What? (2 more videos, a new venue, and some tweets)


I haven’t had much writing time during the past two days, but I was able to make two more little videos with performers from the 2010 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival.

In the above video, playwright-performer Dan Bernitt talks about his solo staged reading of “Swan Balloon,” a fairy tale for adults. 

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe: Day What? (2 more videos, a new venue, and some tweets)

2010 Indy Fringe – Day Two – Four Shows

On my second day of shows at the 2010 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival, I found myself standing in line next to a zombie.  I asked if I could make a little video with him for my blog while we were waiting.  He “grrr!”ed affirmatively, so I pulled out my iPhone and began.

Unfortunately, I must not have tapped the correct icon, because when I got home, I had no zombie video.   “Epic fail!” as the gamers say.  Grr!

So…Zombie Ryan, if I see you around the Fringe again, I’d like to try again, if you’re willing.  In any case, I will look forward to seeing you in “Ophelia’s Revenge” at the Marian Underground venue later this week.

In the meantime, for my beloved blog readers I have two little videos of some of this year’s IndyFringe most hypnotic street performers.  The video at the top of this post is of Carenza bint Asya and her friends.  The video at the bottom of this post is of some hula hoopers about whom I know nothing, unfortunately, except that they were able to do amazing things with not only hoops but huge fire batons and more. 

(8-29-10 update:  The woman with the hula hoop in the video below left me a comment.  Her name is Lynn Spencer-Nelson and she is part of Indy Hoopers, a “Hoop Instruction Company.”  She teaches weekly classes and workshops.  Her company also offers instructional parties for ages 8 and up and parties just for fun for all ages.  They also bring nationally known instructors to the Indianapolis area.

The man in the video will always be Sexy Fire Guy to me, but he is officially part of a company called Phoenix Fire Productions. 

During the second weekend of the fringe, more performers from both groups were back on Mass. Ave., this time with a comedic announcer and many more kinds of hoops and fiery juggling items.  It was even more of a treat to watch their work a second time!)

I also saw four more shows in theatres at IndyFringe.  Here are my thoughts on them:

Continue reading 2010 Indy Fringe – Day Two – Four Shows

Theatre Review: “Madwomen’s Late Nite Cabaret” at DivaFest

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.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Madwomen’s Late Nite Cabaret” at DivaFest

08 Fringe: “The Caverns”

“The Caverns” by Brand X Theatre at the 2008 Indy Fringe

My last show to review for the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival is “The Caverns.”  It was written by one of my favorite actors, Marc Szewczyk, and presented by Brand X Theatre.  It was directed by Katelyn Coyne.  The stage manager is Marti Brown.

This is the group that you may have glimpsed walking around on their performance days with green stripes painted on their faces.

I was intrigued by their three-minute excerpt at the Fringe Preview Party, but I waited too long to see it.  It is a “huh?” piece that demands that its audience be refreshed and alert in order to fully experience it.  In other words, it is NOT a good piece to see as your 35th Fringe show of the week.


Continue reading 08 Fringe: “The Caverns”

08 Fringe: “Andrea Merlyn’s Magic Show: Glamour Redux”

Taylor Martin as Andrea Merlyn

On the final day of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, after spending a lot of time on Mass. Ave. just chatting and relaxing with new and old friends, I walked over to the Phoenix Theatre to catch Taylor Martin’s new magic show.

Martin creates characters that make his magic shows more amusing and intriguing than shows that are just a collection of tricks, but I enjoy his tricks, too.

Continue reading 08 Fringe: “Andrea Merlyn’s Magic Show: Glamour Redux”

08 FringeNext: “Speaking Without Words”

On the final Sunday, the final day of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, I made it downtown just in time to catch the noon performance of the Kenyetta’ Dance Company’s “Speaking Without Words.”  Kenyetta’ Dance Company (KDC) was founded in 2004 by Vanessa R. Owens and Nicholas A. Owens.  They are sister and brother.

This was a FringeNext show rather than a regular Fringe show.  In other words, the performers are mostly still in high school or college.  According to the Fringe booklet, “FringeNext is a dedicated youth theatre which gives Fringe performers the opportunity to take an active role in the arts…FringeNext will be coordinated by the Young Actors Theatre, the resident theatre group in The Athenaeum Building.”   

I went because I had enjoyed the KDC’s three-minute excerpt at the Fringe Preview Party and rashly promised some of the dancers that I would go see their whole show.  By the time the final Sunday morning came, however, I had seen more than 30 Fringe shows and I was very, very tired.  If I had not promised, I would have stayed in bed.

I am very, very glad I kept my promise.  This show was amazing!*  A real treat.  It left me weeping and exhilarated.

Continue reading 08 FringeNext: “Speaking Without Words”

08 Fringe: “Common Humanity”

Firefall Dance Theatre’s “Common Humanity”

For my last show of the second Saturday night of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, I walked down to the American Cabaret Theatre to see the Firefall Dance Theatre’s presentation of “Common Humanity.”  It was created and choreographed by Stephanie Riner.

In the lobby I bought a can of soda from Joe Tauber.  I ran into him and his daughters several times during the Fringe Festival.  They are with Young Actors Theatre.  He told me that Young Actors sponsored the Athenaeum space for several FringeNext performances.  They operated a refreshment booth in the lobby of the ACT/Athenaeum during the Fringe to raise money.

I carried my soda upstairs to the American Cabaret space and was delighted by “Common Humanity.”  This is a multi-disciplinary piece whose purpose is, according to Riner’s program notes, to”explore the different aspects of the human experience (using) a diverse cast.”  It weaves segments of narration with segments of dance with segments of in-the-moment painting.

Continue reading 08 Fringe: “Common Humanity”

08 Fringe: “My Friend Hitler”

Zehra Fazal as “My Friend Hitler”

On the second Saturday of the 2008 Indy Fringe Festival, after a yummy dinner with friends at the new Forty-Five Degrees restaurant on the 45-degree corner of Mass. Ave. and College, I walked down to the Theatre on the Square to see “My Friend Hitler” performed by Zhera (rhymes with “Sarah”) Fazal.

I hadn’t planned to see this one-woman adaptation of the Yukio Mishima play.  Fazal gave an impressive 3-minute sample of her acting skills at the Fringe Preview Party, and I normally love one-person shows and/or anything remotely Japanese.  However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to see all 48 of the main Fringe shows, and I just thought this one would be too depressing, so I crossed it off my list.

Continue reading 08 Fringe: “My Friend Hitler”