Real Estate and Perfect Mates
The Year in Austin Culture
My Favorite 10 Shows of 2000
1. Lipstick Traces (Rude Mechanicals) This year's remount of last year's hit gave the Rude Mechanicals an opportunity to gild the lily, and they pulled it off in spades, especially thanks to enhanced production values, Lana Lesley's frenzied reinterpretation of her role as the intrepid Dr. Narrator, and even louder music.
2. Werner Herzog's Stroszek (Theaterless Theatre Corps) Josh Frank's Theaterless Theatre Corps did a hell of a job adapting Werner Herzog's film for the stage. Stroszek, the burly and doomed title character, his prostitute-girlfriend Eva, and their friend Mr. Sheitz cope in different ways with their financial ruin and the alienation of immigration. The troupe carried it off in a cinematic sweep of emotion and humor.
3. WAR (Rude Mechanicals) The Rude Mechs work so hard that they deserve all they hype they get. Playwright Kirk Lynn's perverse take on cubicle culture was pleasantly cryptic, rich in detail, and absurdly funny. The impeccable cast explored the fantasies and coping mechanisms of a slew of caricaturish, over-caffeinated office workers, and came out with a self-sustaining world as happily isolated in its logic as the average corporate office.
4. Home Free (Dirigo Group) Very few people saw this here-today, gone-tomorrow MOMfest offering, and that is a damn shame. Greg Gondek and Christa Kimlicko Jones worked their impressive talents to the fullest in their adaptation of this Lanford Wilson play. Despite the certifiable insanity of the two incestuous characters, Kimlicko Jones and Gondek made them multidimensional and utterly sympathetic.
5. The Rocky Horror Show (Zachary Scott Theatre Center) Another remount, another narrator, another incredibly tight production played for maximum entertainment value. Zach went all out with the new millennium stage adaptation of the cult film. Frank N. Furter couldn't have been better cast than in the person of Joe York, and the celestial Meredith Robertson was, of course, incredible as Magenta.
6. The Possibilities (The Public Domain) The Public Domain could have staged almost anything at that abandoned airport hangar and it would have been watchable, but the way they used the vast apocalyptic space to put on a series of short works by Howard Barker was ultra-surreal and way-cool.
7. Fool for Love/Cowboy Mouth (Dirigo Group) Dirigo appears unable to do shows that don't involve incest, but as long as they keep turning out such strong work it's hard to complain. This Sam Shepard double bill included Fool for Love, a brother-sister motel drama to end all motel dramas, and Cowboy Mouth, which uncharacteristically took on not incest but adultery and the making of a rock & roll star. As usual, Dirigo managed in both to generate tremendous energy via some very satisfying screaming and carrying on.
8. Heaving Shadows at the Skin Show (VORTEX Repertory Company) Exploring issues of intimacy and sexuality via a hustler, a hitchhiker, a trucker, and an infinity of cultural references, Kerthy Fix crafted a chaotic fairy tale at once giddy and traumatic.
9. In the House of the Moles (Rude Mechanicals) Performance artist Terry Galloway teamed up with the Rude Mechs for this play about several insane kids doing a vaudeville send-up of their hated, beloved, recently dead despot of a mother. Part slapstick, part perverse commentary on death and family, In the House of the Moles contained some of the year's best character acting.
10. All in the Timing (Fabulous and Ridiculous Theater) Some of the best laughs all year were to be had during the Fabulous and Ridiculous Theater's interpretation of this series of short plays by David Ives. This show has been produced in Austin before and since, but FART's over-the-top take proved especially hilarious.