Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

Odd Fragments

Vague, Peripheral Odds And Ends From Last Weekend's Theatre

By Russ Bickerstaff
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When Posters Speak Wit A Woikin’ Class Noo Yawk Aksent

I got to the Broadway Theatre Center kind of early . . . ended up standing around with a whole bunch of other people waiting to see Uprooted/Renaissance’s Crumbs From The Table Of Joy. Standing around in the lobby it’s very, very difficult not to notice the posters for Renaissance’s staging of James DeVita in In Acting Shakespeare. A pair of very, very tall text-based posters advertise the story of a man who started out as a longshoremen in New York and somehow became one of the most respected actors in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a long bit of text in an old font that looks ambiguously old-timey. The text is written in something of a  “Fahnetik New Yawk Vahnakyoolah,” which is (surprisingly) only slightly annoying. The monolithic posters are overwhelmingly large and magnetted to the doors separating the lobby of the Broadway Studio Theatre from the main stairwell to the bar. Hands down some of the coolest posters I’ve seen in recent memory.

Off The Wall Is Not Disney

The other memorable bit of advertising I saw over the weekend was for Off The Wall’s production of Alice In Wonderland. Jeremy Welter adapted the script for the tiny stage of the Off The Wall With Welter as the Mad Hatter and Liz Mistele as Alice, the show is being marketed as a very dark stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic. My wife and I were in the lobby of the Baker Theatre Complex to pick-up tickets for the new Rep show when I spotted the show’s promotional post card. There’s a print of a painting inspired by Alice In Wonderland . . . the style looks familiar—I’m almost positive I recognize the artist, but I don’t know his name. (tried to track the individual down, but a Google Image search for Evil/Dark or Disturbing Alice In Wonderland,” turns out toe be every bit as pointless as it sounds.) The image appropriated for the card is memorable: a black-haird alice with high cut bangs looks either catatonic, bored, drugged-out or all three on a red love seat a man in a Cheshire Cate costume appears to be taking advantage of her. Roses bleed all around a pair of fish go in opposite directions overhead. Roses bleed. A white rabbit appears to be feeding on whiskey or poison. Weird Above the pic is the tagline “This Isn’t Disney…” Okay, granted this isn’t Disney, but what exactly is it? More on that in the preview column of next week’s Shepherd.

Sometimes You Go Down An Escalator Twenty Times and Sometimes You’re Interviewing A Powerball 

And sometimes you’re working the lobby for a local theatre company. Or appearing in a fashion photo shoot in Rockstar Design’s Shiny* Milwaukee magazine. I saw three show this past weekend. Local actress/model Libby Amato was working in the lobby during TWO of those shows. She was working the bar at the Sunset Playhouse Thursday night. I asked her why she kept showing-up on T.V. Just after a recent Packers playoff win, she could be seen interviewing the Powerball in a locker room for the Wisconsin Lottery. Somewhat less recently she was seen going down an escalator in a department store commercial. She’s onscreen for a few seconds. She had one line. I asked her how many times they made her go down that escalator. (The correct answer was somewhere around twenty. Such is the burden of TV commercial work.) Two days after I saw her in Elm Grove, she was taking tickets at the Broadway theatre Center for Renaissance. 

Hoped For And Somewhat Unxepected

The Green Bay Packers roll into the NFC CHampionship next week Sunday. Opening kick-off is more or less the same time as opening curtain for David Cecsarini and Norman Moses in Next Act's Big Boys. This has got to be a bit frustrating for Cecsarini--Next Act's Producing Artistic Director who also happens to be a Packers fan. The guy once addressed an audience in costume as Vince Lombardi prior to a show on a playoff day. Cecsarini couldn't pass-up an opportunity to play Lombardi in a Next Act production of The Only Thing. Here's hoping the Packers win this Sunday--if for no other reason than to allow a talented local actor an opportunity to see the Packers wrap-up the post-season in real time with the rest of us. Yes, he's got a show Super Bowl Sunday as well--but it's a matinee. Even with a talk back after the show, he'll have time to catch the opening kick-off of the Super Bowl. With any luck, the Packers make it there so Cecsarini can see the Packers end their post-season.  

 

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