Monday, August 2, 2010

Show 101-103: Buffalo Infringement Festival

The first theatre festival we performed where we didn't lose hundreds of dollars!!

After 3 weeks of touring to the west coast and back we dropped Peter off in Milwaukee (or he dropped us off at our car, actually) and headed to Buffalo for three days of DIY theatre goodness.

First, we stopped at my mom's house where I made the grave error of jumping in a nearby lake, invoking a terrible allergic reaction, which incapacitated me for most of the 10 hour drive to Buffalo, and made our first performance that evening a little more strange than usual. Performing actually very much improved my condition, though. Apparently rolling around in a hot little room and screaming with your head in a bag and a gag in your mouth cures congestion!

Second, we played three shows, and saw a bunch of others. The others were a pretty mixed bag, some well intentioned but failed efforts, the most proficient puppetry I've seen, and some Brecht done really Brechtian (which turned out quite disatisfying, actually).

Third, we got to hang out in Buffalo and discover more of the wonders this city has to offer. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the rust belt is where the fucking rev will start. Or at least the total social collapse part of it.

Blow by blow, show by show:
I. Friday July 30th, Rust Belt Books
MONEYS: $30.50
INJURIES: Rust Belt's french press didn't make it. Sorry.

STORIES: We got to Buffalo in time to hang up a few flyers, watch a beautiful puppet show, and beg passersby to come watch our show. A few did, and it was good.

The performance was a little hectic and distracted, there were windchimes on the door, and we had a fairly tight performance time schedule, also, Kate bumped into a wall with a french press on a table on the other side, the bump was enough to cause it to leap onto the floor and smash itself. Hurns.

In a recurring problem that makes we wish we'd signed up for an hour-and-a-half time slot rather than an hour, we had to get packed up and out of there before we were able to have any kind of discussion with the audience. I'm beginning to think these discussions are a necessity for the kind of theatre we're doing. Otherwise it feels like presenting our honest, complex inability to live under empire or confidently attack empire might be kind of pointlessly bewildering.

II. Saturday July 31st, Sugar City
MONEYS: $27.71
INJURIES: Unscathed!

STORIES: We rolled into Sugar City as awards were being given out for some kind of social media scavenger hunt, which honestly looked far less fun than a traditional scavenger hunt. Sorry guys, social media is a fucking tragedy. (yes, i realize this is a blog, and i am thus a hypocrite, but I am part of this fucking tragedy.)

Anyway, we performed for a small, but i think, appreciative audience, including some middle aged, middle class, generally middle-oriented folks who voiced discomfort with our performance.

Then we stuck around to watch "You Know This Girl" which we've been curious about since seeing posters for it at the bunk house in Cincinnati. Another DIY theatre tour! Her one woman show about "the depths of shallowness" depressed the hell out of me and pissed Kate off. I suspect Fallon has good intentions, and is clearly committed to her role, but the piece misses the mark. Humiliating clueless women who live for the shallow approval of others is (as comedy) like shooting fish in a barrel or (as social commentary) like treating a rash with poison ivy.

III. Sunday August 1st, Broadway Market Rooftop.
TURNOUT: variable 4-10, including two cops.
INJURIES: temporary staring-into-the-sun eye strain

STORIES: Now we can say we've performed on a roof-top on a cloudless summer day at high noon! I just need to figure out if being able to make that claim is worth the unpleasantness of actually doing the act.

Also, the place was crawling with cops, one of whom we notified of what we were doing before performing, which was fortunate, cuz he later told us his partner's first reaction upon witnessing our play was to reach for his gun.

Also, there was a drum circle and a rap group elsewhere on the roof during our performance. This rooftop happens to be in the middle of an african american neighborhood, and both these African-rooted music genres happened to be performed by white dudes. Assumptions of cultural appropriation aside, they were both pretty loud and I'm sure made it hard to hear us.

In spite of these things, a few people managed to stick around and seemed to get something out of the show.

Then we went to see a story teller, the Conspiracy Tour, and Subversive Theatre's production of "The Mother". I really wish the producers of The Mother had gone to the Conspiracy Tour, cuz maybe then they woulda recognized how dated the play is and how badly Brecht himself would surely want it revised so that it's deconstruction of The Mother's naive assumptions wouldn't be overshadowed by obsolete ideas of mass workers movements and state communism. It's very strange hearing Brecht's celebration of communist leaflets being recited by folks who don't seem to have read any leaflets written in the last 5-10 years.

Did you see this show? If you did, write a review, ask us some questions or comment on it. We'd love to hear it becuase we believe in artistic transparency.

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