Jocko Benoit's Writing and Pop Culture Spot

Perspectives on the arts and popular culture from Jocko (Jacques) Benoit. Scattered thoughts on poetry, books, film, television, and other cultural intersections.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Between the Fringe and A Hard Place

More Fringe recommendations in no particular order…

Cloning Mary Shelley: This is the kind of play the word ‘interesting’ was built for. It’s a one-woman show that opens up connections between cloning, Frankenstein and his monster, Mary Shelley, the narrator’s past and present and stem cell research. It’s a fascinating bit of thematic juggling and weaving that works quite well. But the play doesn’t tell me what I should think about it all – a kind of open-endedness I applaud and call cowardly at the same time.

Get Off the Cross, Mary: Sacrilicious to the max when a gay puppet decides to stage The Flaming Passion of the Christ with himself in the lead. It’s a kind of Meet the Feebles for the stage with three Muppet rejects and their ‘handlers’ arguing their way through a jinxed film production. I was revolted and greatly amused. Not for rosary bearers or prudes.

The Centering: A commanding one-man performance featuring a political prisoner who retreats into his imagination to his past and his own inner clown. Touching, hard-hitting and funny all rolled into one, with some deliberately jarring and unsettling moments.

Genericles: It’s tempting to call this the best high school play ever (even though the actors are older than that). It has that feeling, including a cast of guys that I’m sure I went to high school with… Modern ideas about work are thrown into the setting of ancient Greece and run through the wringers of the gods. My favorite line has to do with Pegasus being put down when he breaks a leg. Plenty of cheap laughs along with some very clever bits. My only beef is that the play reaffirms the importance of hard work. [shudder]


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