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Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in musical comedy, sketches, skits, slapstick

"Murder for Two" Is Just Deadly

Brett Ryback as the detective and Jeff Blumenkrantz as all 13 suspects in “Murder for Two” at 2nd Stage Theatre Uptown. Photo by Joan Marcus

Normally a double homicide is an agreeable if grisly TV staple and a pleasant way to  pass the time.

In “Murder for Two,” at the McGinn/Cazale, Second Stage’s uptown showcase, the crime is in the ridiculous premise.

Taste and sense have been cruelly killed. Comedy has been bludgeoned and all the fun of slapstick was butchered. “Murder for Two” is dull and annoying when it should be cute and winsome.

Jeff Blumenkrantz in one of his 13 guises and Brett Ryback as the investigator in “Murder for Two.
 Photo by Joan Marcus

In “Murder for Two,” a new musical by Joe Kinosian (book and music) and Kellen Blair (book and lyrics), there is a murder at a birthday party.  Jeff Blumenkrantz plays all the suspects while Brett Ryback plays a cop named Marcus. While not quite enough to recommend this foolish little skit masquerading as musical comedy, Beowulf Boritt has gone all-out in designing the elaborate set, framing the action inside a panelled arch.

In the interest of offering a balanced view, we note that “Murder for Two” was a hit in Chicago in 2010.
Nonetheless, this reviewer found that although it is  a mere 90 minutes with no intermission, “Murder for Two” is overlong.

For more information about “Murder for Two,” visit www.2ndst.com.

Posted in beets, carrots, clowning, clowns, comedy, Eugene O'Neil, juggling, mime, offbeat work, onions, playing with food, skits, stage directions, vegetables

Actors’ Revenge and Other Clowning

Eugene O’Neill (“The Iceman Cometh,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “Mourning Becomes Electra” etc.)is not known for inspiring chuckles but the New York Neo-Futurists (Neos) know how to get guffaws out of tough material.

In fact, you might think of “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” at The Kraine Theatre through extended to October 1st, 8th as the actor’s revenge on a playwright loath to allow anyone to mess with his vision. It is said that O’Neill would have preferred to have his plays just read, not acted, and his elaborate stage directions suggest an obsessive desire to micro-manage all aspects in the performance of his work.

With “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” the Neos continue the tradition they started in the mid ’90s of “embracing chance, change and chaos.”

The cast, six enactors, — Danny Burman, Brendan Donaldson, Cara Francis, Connor Kalista (not pictured,) Erica Livingston, and Lauren Sharpe, –and
a narrator, Jacquelyn Landgraf (also not pictured), are inventive and lively.

Photo © Anton Nickel  

“The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” adapted and directed by Christopher Loar, compiled from seven early O’Neill works, features narrated stage directions which lead the ensemble to scramble, reassemble props, strike poses, fall onto seats, and make their exits.

There is no O’Neill script for the Neos to follow, but they elicit hysterical laughter while depicting O’Neill’s descriptions of action, character (in both senses of the word.)

The cast entertain by making nuanced adjustments to capture expressions, gestures, even sighs. “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays” is exhilirating and giddy.

For more on “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” and the Neos work, please visit http://www.nyneofuturists.org/
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The Other Clowning: Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry, under the direction of Pablo Ibarluzea are “Cirque De Legume

It’s the leeks, carrots, beets, onions, artichoke, lettuce and hot peppers that give these circus artists, Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry, their name. They are “Cirque De Legume!”

Cirque De Legume,” at 59E59 Theaters, as part of the citywide 1st Irish Festival, through October 2nd, hail from London by way of Paris’ respected “clown school”–Ecole Jacques Lecoq. Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry enter to rollicking big tent music and great fanfare.

Photo © Mark Fearon  

After their big entrance, they seem ill-at-ease, and the rest of the performance is dedicated to challenging the audience. “How about that?” is their refrain after every trick. “Cirque De Legume” ise delicious slight-of-hand, and acrobatics in their successful effort to please the crowd.
They add a sports metaphor to their routine when she spells out C-I-R-Q-U-E… and they bump chests.

Training a barking lettuce named “Dusty” to jump for a carrot is just the opening number in this manic and charming show.

Visit www.59E59.org
for a schedule of performances. Also see what else is taking place during the 1st Irish Festival at http://www.1stirish.org/