TWO EXTREMES IN ONE NIGHT
New York International Fringe Festival 2011
August 13, 2011--- For the first day of Fringe, I saw two plays on polar opposite ends of stage presence: the uber camp rock musical, Parker & Dizzy's Faboulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow and a series of vingnettes about life during engagement in Welcome to Eternity.
Parker & Dizzy's Faboulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow starts with cabaret drag queen, Victoria Luster (Steven Polito aka Hedda Lettuce) singing the 11 o'clock number, "Forever Is A Memory" right before her elongated, humorous murder. Her friends, Dizzy and Parker now are on a journey to solve the murder and/or run away from the murderer through Manhattan as they pickup clues and hot gay men (a naked cowboy type, an Emo cutter, and a dirty old man) who represent the various NYC gay versions of the Wizard of Oz's Tinman, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.
But this is not a retelling of the Wizard of Oz. Oh No! Toss in a DNA Relica of Joan Crawford aka Clone Crawford and reality tv stars who try to help Dizzy and Parker learn about D.R.A.G, a secret society lead by the Queen, herself, Judy Garland. They must figure it all out before a Sith Lord in tight undies and a long black trench coat catches them. D.R.A.G clones an audience that forces the Gay community to support bad pop culture such as Showgirls, Beaches, etc.
This play is full of quick quips and has a few funny musical numbers such as "GPeniS" about the cowboy's penis working as a GPS, "The Troll Song" sung by Old Man Jasper. Sam Given is very good playing the Crawford, Abbatha, Ginger, Ekajati characters and gives life to this whirlwind play about nothing and everything but the kitchen sink (Star Was, Wizard of Oz, DaVinci Code). I had a hard time hearing and understanding what the other actors on stage from the second row and Rodiney Santiago (Logo TV: The A-List) was lost on stage.
I’m a lusty, crusty, rusty old troll. – The Troll Song sung by Old Man Jasper ( John Weigand)
If you like satirical humor that pokes fun at gay pop culture and get it all the inside jokes, you may enjoy this. But for a 2 hour Fringe play, it was too camp, too long for me.
Welcome to Eternity
On the other end of the spectrum, Welcome to Eternity, a play of short vignettes about a couple's life during their engagement directed by Laura Konsin Shortt.
The couple, Amanda and Patrick (Mary Schneider & Patrick Pizzolorusso) decide on how they want to raise their children Catholic, schedule what sex positions they want to try on a gigantic whiteboard and Amanda' reveals her perfect "Ideal Husband."
It seems like a great concept for a short play taking splices of life during a engagement. However, playwright, Matt Saldarelli drags the play with long lectures by Patrick, reducing Amanda to nods and one liners only to fuel more of this one-man-show-future marriage. Both characters are not fully developed and the last vignette paints the bride-to-be as a Bridezilla that is contrary to the first 75 minutes building to point. Unfortunately, the lack of stage presence and character arch make you want to divorce this play by the 3rd vignette.