BY AARON STELLA FRINGE CORRESPONDENT Two men gussied up in tweed suits and hard-soled shoes manage the day long showcasing of The Store. As you enter The Store, you are handed a menu — much like what you would be given at a restaurant — complete with specials and other various delicacies. But instead of food, art is today’s special. Michikuza Matsune and David Subal, creators of The Store, will be your “servers”, and they are capable of accommodating a diversity of artistic tastes. When you want to “order” something, you settle up the bill first (ranging between $0.75-5.00) and then they perform the art piece chosen. One example is “The Buddha”; for purchasing this selection, you watch Michikuza sit in a yogic position with his eyes closed as he holds probably the most beatific smile on his face for two minutes. Another example is “Creativity Brings us to New Heights”. Here Sudal pastes strips of masking tape to his face, forming a makeshift mask, as he leans on a podium, after which, Michikuza beings reading a short excerpt from the introduction of the Philadelphia Fringe Catalog in very slow, deliberate and sincere orations. In all the performances, the pair maintain poise and stoic composure, and are dead serious about the “art” they’re providing. The concept is interesting as it is unique; however, the value of the experience really depends upon one’s value for witnessing this concept in action. If you don’t dig it, it’s going to seem, well, silly. Keep in mind, however, to Michikuza and Sudal, this is no joke, and their conviction in that is plainly obviously.
What’s Good: Conceptually unique; actors/servers execute all actions with finesse; inexpensive products offered.
What’s Bad: Either you dig or you don’t.
BY AARON STELLA FRINGE CORRESPONDENT Director Theresa Diamond’s theater short Waiting for the Show is a visceral projection of America’s deluded psychological schema and a conspiracy theorist’s worse nightmare. And yet, strangely enough, it still finds time for levity. The setting: a basement of a research hospital headed up by a Dr. Freud and a Dr. Nietzsche; the inhabitants (besides the doctors): Nina, a histrionic pro-lifer directing a play that she thinks is going to be showcased at the Right to Life Convention at the white house, and Anne, Nina’s titular actor, plagued with problems of her own. During the first half of the play, the actresses function as mouthpieces, voicing opposing opinions revolving around abortion issues; each characters’ diatribes, sporadically peaking, and broaching larger issues of unchecked balances of government and prevalent social oppression. Come the second half of the play, Dr. Freud and Dr. Nietzsche are introduced; them, representing a common justification that “powerful men” are not only able, but should manipulate the masses. Both actresses are phenomenal; and for such a dark topic, the play is hysterical. Although the props were spare, the actresses were all the audience needed. The only qualm I have (which I have with most fringe events) is that the play is preaching to the choir, and does not so much educate as it fans the flames and impassions those who already sympathize with the advocated perspective. Even so, this is a marvelous production and should not be missed.
What’s Good: the acting; the overall message; the writing (brilliant!)
What’s Bad: the manner in which some perspectives were portrayed were perhaps a bit dated.