Sunday, August 30, 2015

Three Solos

Yesterday, I went to see a triple-header of one-person shows as the 19th Annual New York International Fringe Festival began to come to a close.

Not all solo shows can be as good as Howard L. Craft's Freight, but these three plays were all performed both with humor and an emotional core. While some were more successful than others, they were all worth seeing.

Last week, when I went to see the Fringe production of Fuente Ovejuna, I overheard an audience member talk up a show he had recently seen. "It's called The Absolutely True Science of Nerds," he said. "You've got to see it! This dude gives all the science behind Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Godzilla. It's great!"

Though this show wasn't one I originally planned on seeing, my friends Holly and Laurie had convinced me to go, so by the time I heard the word on the street (and it might have literally have been on the street) I had already arranged for tickets. Written and performed by Shyaporn Theerakulstit, The Absolutely True Science of Nerds was probably the best thing I saw at the Fringe this year.

Technically,  this was a two-person show, since in between Mr. Theerakulstit's "completely scientific lectures" there are two dance breaks. In the first one, the playwright and actor proves he is also a mean tap dancer. The second dance break is performed by one of several burlesque artists. I saw Tiger Bay perform a strip tease as Carl Sagan. It was wrong. So very wrong. And I loved it.

Later that afternoon, I saw Mark DeMayo's The Broccoli Murder, DiCaprio Dance and Other Stories From My 20 Years as a NYC Cop. The show was precisely what it sounds like, but very funny. I particularly enjoyed DeMayo's account of a man who robbed the laundromat downstairs from where he lived, and just around the corner from the police precinct. Not the brightest guy in the world.

Then in the evening, I was happy to run into Dennis Gleason, who directed my short play The Trade at Gallery Players this summer. Dennis was the venue manager for the space where Venus and Adonis was playing. This one-woman show by Misha Bouvion took its text from the (sort of) famous poem by Shakespeare, with a few pronoun changes so Bouvion could perform the whole piece in the person of Venus. Her voluptuous body and melodious voice added a great deal to the poem, even though there isn't much dramatic action in Shakespeare's text.

If you missed these performances, don't fear! I have a feeling all three of them will be back at some point in the future.