Photo: Jeff Swenson
This was the final weekend for REDCATs New Original Works
festival downtown and while it was probably the softest show of the bunch overall, it did contain one big highlight. That was Lauren Weedman, who returned to the black box theater with the latest of her very, very funny monologues. She was last seen here with Bust
, a work about her experiences volunteering in the county jail system. This weekend, Ms. Weedman appeared alone with nothing more than a chair for Off
. Like her prior solo works, the piece appears to be autobiographical with Weedman recreating scenes that could be from her own life involving both her and the unusual people around her. The focus this time out was procreation, and specifically the pros and cons of various means to achieving it. And while I usually don't go in for this biological clock stuff, Weedman has immense powers of winning one over. During her hour, she hysterically visits an adoption center, discusses contraception with a boyfriend, and visits her lesbian sister to learn about the process of being a parent. This isn't stand up comedy, but more a collection of brief scenes with Weedman herself playing all the characters. It’s great material and her hour long set provided the biggest ovation of the whole festival I’d seen so far.
The rest of the evening was taken up by a solo dance piece choreographed and performed by Meg Wolf and a very short muti-media work from a collaborative including Zackary Drucker, Mariana Marroquin, and Wu Ingrid Tsang. This latter work entitled P.I.G.
(short for Politically Involved Girls) was a tongue-in-cheek exploration of transgender heritage and issues. Including both live and filmed material, three performers interact with various characters on screen as part of a mock group therapy meeting that is both comic farce, nostalgic homage, and intellectual soapbox. While I liked the look and feel of it, I thought all of the ideas were so tightly packed into one very small and brief space that much of it flew past me. Nor was there time to connect with a flow or atmosphere of the work. Meg Wolfe was another of the festivals many solo auteur and her dance piece was competent and well-thought out. It was a decidedly minimal exercise with a bare stage, evocative soundtrack and a little lighting. It was perhaps a little to subtle for the final piece in the festival, but it was professionally done.
Of course the other big REDCAT news this week was the announcement of their upcoming Fall season
. there's a lot of great things to choose from including return appearances from filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger and the California EAR Unit. However the big ticket item is the West Coast Premiere of Arias with a Twist
the collaborative theater piece from Joey Arias and puppeteer Basil Twist. It was great in New York
, and will likely be a highlight of the Fall here so plan ahead.
Labels: REDCAT 08/09