Short Fringe: Wednesday Jan. 26

The Short Fringe lineup on Jan. 26 covered juice enthusiasts, life in a small Texas county, an action TV parody with a ticking clock, and a fading friendship as a wrestling match

Arts Review

Short Fringe: Wednesday Jan. 26

Hyde Park Theatre

Wheatgrass enema, anyone? The Short Fringe lineup tonight began with "The Juiceman Cometh" by Cliff Diver Productions, written by Peter Spiro. Fresh-squeezed-juice enthusiasts eagerly waited for Guru Jay "The Juiceman" to arrive while they debated the unique health benefits of various fruit and vegetable liquid concoctions. Once the anticipated speaker came, he ravenously devoured barbecued ribs to the horror of his supplicants. With a cast of goofy characters and extreme vegan philosophy, this short play satirized health-conscious fanaticism against the gluttony of carnivores. Following that, Tom Doyal, seated alone under a spotlight, read two stories about the vicissitudes of life in a small Texas county. First was a seemingly autobiographical account of his mother's death in which her erroneous donation of his entire inheritance to the church led him to decide to secretly nickel-and-dime office supplies from the church as revenge. In the second story, he offered alternative perspectives on the phenomenon of prophecy as everyday acts reliant on positive compassion.

Gnap! Theater Projects offered the improvised parody "24 Minutes," mocking the action-thriller television series with a similar yet chronologically different title. After asking audience members to name an hour of the day, a location, and an example of a dreadful incident at work (in this case a wrong keypad pushed on a register), performers Shannon McCormick and Shana Merlin hilariously created impromptu scenarios of government agents, Highland Mall bandits, and evil clothes store clerks. Moving seamlessly vocally and physically into various characters, the duo skillfully initiated and resolved absurd situations under the ticking clock. Finally, Austin Script Works writer Ryan Pavelchik, brought us "The Match," an allegory about a fading friendship between two buddies as mock living room wrestling meet. Broadcast voices relayed the action of the costumed and masked, posing and primping contestants while they pounced and strangle-held one another on, over, and beside a dull brown couch. Eventually, the dialogue overhead contrasted with the action of signature fight moves and grunts as one friend rejected the other's lack of understanding and immature behavior. Initially frivolous, then bittersweet, this short play articulated complexities in relationships and competition without shoveling formulaic tragedy into the mix.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Art Review: “Encounters in the Garden”
Art Review: “Encounters in the Garden”
Laredo-based artist renders open interaction with the unfamiliar

Lina Fisher, July 12, 2024

Theatre Review: <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Musical: The Aerial Show</i>
Theatre Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Musical: The Aerial Show
Sky Candy brings Buffy the Musical to the skies

Aaron Sullivan, July 12, 2024

More by Heather Barfield Cole
Arts Review
Double Exposure
In Double Exposure, writer/performers Wayne Alan Brenner and David Jewell offer old and new material they've created, and their knack for capturing nuance in the mundane entertains

Nov. 17, 2006

Arts Review
9x9x9
In Randy Wyatt's '9x9x9,' Coda Theater Project offers a kooky thought piece on life / death and the power of God, but a lack of clarity in presentation undercuts some of the fun

May 5, 2006

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

FronteraFest 2005, FronteraFest Short Fringe, The Juiceman Cometh, Cliff Diver Productions, Peter Spiro, Tom Doyal, Gnap! Theater Projects, 24 Minutes, Shannon McCormick, Shana Merlin, Austin Script Works, Ryan Pavelchik, The Match

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle