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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013

Fly and the Battery Factory

Three shorts on Red Dot’s patio

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Playwright Fly Steffens’ work acted as a theatrical suture between summer and autumn this month. Her shorts program Love Is A Horse With A Broken Leg Trying To Stand While 45,000 People Watch asserted itself on the back patio of the East Side’s unassumingly stylish Red Dot restaurant.

Produced with the aid of Milwaukee organization The Battery Factory, the program consisted of three shorts staged largely in one corner of the back patio. Inspired by the works of Charles Bukowski and James Joyce, the underlying themes seemed to question the nature of identity, security and connection in a way that was deeply appealing in certain respects.

The first short, Goldfish, focused on tall, thin Tim Palecek as an impoverished poet bringing a girl back to the disheveled place he can’t pay rent on. They pretended to be stable people as things fell apart. And The Sun Wields Mercy felt a bit more accomplished. Liz Leighton played a charming photographer who sometimes regarded the world through a telescope and sometimes related to two other artists. Ian Tanudjaja was charismatically restless as a poet who couldn’t progress beyond a single poem. Alex Van Abel played an inert novelist who could no longer relate to the menu at a cafe. By far the best piece was Love. Repeat, with Glenn Widdicombe as a man not blessed with a great deal of luck or judgment. Widdicombe was in places heartbreakingly sympathetic in a world that would not stay still.

For more information on the Battery Factory, visit thebatteryfactory.org. For more information about Fly Steffens, visit flysteffens.com.

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