FronteraFest Short Fringe

With FronteraFest 2006 in full swing, the January 27 Short Fringe program offered an assortment of theatrical ingenuity, frivolity, and tenderness

Arts Review

FronteraFest Short Fringe, Week Three

Hyde Park Theatre, Jan. 27

With FronteraFest 2006 in full swing, Friday evening's Short Fringe program offered an assortment of theatrical ingenuity, frivolity, and tenderness.

Round About Players kicked off the set with their "choose your own adventure" romantic comedy peppered with naughty behavior. A swooning young couple had to reassess their relationship once his mother and her father also fell in love. The two, horrified that they might become step-siblings, break up. The woman remains smitten and vows to steal her man back from a lascivious lady all too eager to seduce him with her mouth in a movie theatre. Downstage, a narrator held an oversized illustrated book. She stopped the action at opportunities with potential to shift the plot and turned to the audience, asking them to vote between two given choices. Eventually, the same ending that began the show remained, but it was the journey to the classic closing scene of a couple kissing that made more meaning out of the shallowness witnessed initially.

Stephen Pruitt shyly admitted in his "Catastrophe Theory" that he was a lighting designer who wanted to speak about the purpose for making art. He shared stories in an off-the-cuff manner about tourist traps in Ecuador and a life-affirming camping trip he survived in the Big Bend wilderness of West Texas. Pruitt's sincerity was a rare and refreshing reminder of how theatre acts as a testimonial space for sharing with strangers insights on the making and sustaining of artistic destiny.

RAD dancers performed spoken-word poetry mixed with dance that hinged between feverish rants and calculated smoothness in voice and body. One man prolifically spoke words like a postmodern Allen Ginsberg beatnik while four women wearing shredded white clothes moved according to the poetry's imposed rhythm. Handwritten words covered their bodies from forehead to feet. They became dancing chaos of language and form. RAD's "Sidewalks Speak Truths" was a visually compelling exploration of theatrical genres and conventions.

Cardboard boxes posed as a row of desks and computers in a corporate office in "Our Employees Are Our Top Priority." Workers proceeded with their daily routine of typing and staring at the screen. As they performed idiosyncratic work habits, the manager abruptly called an emergency meeting. In between cold, impersonal office banter, each worker stood alone in the spotlight to reveal a personal struggle that had to remain hidden at the job. Family illness, health, and funerals had no place in the work environment. Written by Jodi Leckbee, this piece exposed the plague of apathy afflicting corporate workforces.

Hoover's Blanket brought sketch comedy to close the night with their "Fresh Strawberries." A man in Scrooge-like pajamas listened to the radio with a crate of strawberries. Upstage, a player used a microphone as the radio amplifier. He announced that scientists had discovered that strawberries might produce hallucinatory effects, at which the man proceeded to fall over himself in tripped-out shock. Fast-paced and goofy scenes followed into bizarre and impossible situations ripe for laughter. It was a good close to an eclectic night of original, homegrown theatre.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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
Generic Ensemble Company's <i>Carmen</i>
Generic Ensemble Company's Carmen
This devised work shares the name of Bizet's opera, but it has its own story to tell, one that's modern, irreverent and funny

Robert Faires, May 25, 2018

Capital T Theatre's <i>Small Mouth Sounds</i>
Capital T Theatre's Small Mouth Sounds
This hilarious and moving production reveals near deafening truths with barely a sound

T. Lynn Mikeska, May 25, 2018

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 Short Fringe, Round About Players, Stephen Pruitt, Catastrophe Theory, RAD, Sidewalks Speak Truths, Our Employees Are Our Top Priority, Jodi Leckbee, Hoover's Blanket, Fresh Strawberries

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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