2011 Fringe Festival Day 7: Dance and comedy to lift the spirits
Wednesday afternoon, Carole got some bad news about her father. I will let her talk about it or not. Suffice it to say: She was on the phone to Boston much of the time. There was nothing more she could do from here except field calls. We discussed not going to the Fringe, but she felt like she needed the break. We did change plans, dropping the two later shows at the West Bank for two closer venues both featuring comedians. That left us with a break after the first slot, built in earlier and now allowing here to check in. This worked out well.
Creating sound and space from nothing
No sets, no costumes. This story of Little Red Riding Hood (as well as Demeter and Persephone) is cited in the program notes, but few parallels to the traditional tale are found. No basket of goodies, no grandma, the hunter is the bad guy.
Red is resurrected as a tale of a young woman coming of age. The performers create forests, trees, wolves, a dripping faucet, fire and all the characters with simple movements and sound. The audience plays a vital part; they do all the imagining.
I'm not quite sure the narrative holds up, but it's a strong, emotional, story.
After the show at the Lab, we had an open slot for travel and dinner. We made good time and could probably have ducked into one of the Lake/Lyndale venues, but ducked into It's Greek To Me partially because I like the food (though it's become overpriced) and partly because we could find a spot for Carole to make phone calls and charge her phone.
We had altered our plans for today partly for emotional release. This worked pretty well.
Phil the Void: Motherbanking Bankholes
"We live in a post-fact society"
Al Gore and Paul Krugman have been right about the economy for at least two decades, but the conservative news media ignores or ridicules them. The conservative news media itself simply lies or helps out their corporate masters. The only people telling you the truth are comedians.
With soft-spoken ease, Phil van Hest takes us on a history of civilization ("… Ur…") and the creation of banks. The sorry state of today's economy (and the sorrier state of reporting on today's economy) is a laughing matter, as those of us who can't buy politicians don't have much else to do.
Phil knows his material, and knows how to talk to an audience. His stand-up routine is well-crafted and time-tested. One of the funniest comedians I've ever seen, he doesn't need to exaggerate to flay the people who are robbing you blind with your approval: "There is no free will in the free market".
Carole and I really needed the laugh just then. Thanks Phil.
We had hoped two comedians in a row would be even better. Alas.
Scientist Turned Comedian
For a guy with a PhD, Tim Lee's jokes were awfully sophomoric. He structures his routine around power-point slides of various advanced scientific terminology. He rambles on humorously, and lets the punch line be on the slide. I liked that concept, even when the joke was, predictably, about his lack of a sex life. But then he switches to another joke. There was no narrative, no sustained line of humor that builds. We never find out if he used his research to get laid.
Chucklesome, but I kept waiting for an actual laugh. Which never came.
Back home, more phone calls/text messages. Carole's father was out of the emergency room but still in the cardiac wing. We slid down the night and went to be late.
Continued in Day 8: A little o' this, a little o' that.