"A Watery Delight"
We're a little more than halfway through the run of The Ugly Duckling and the responses have been amazing. As amazing as this photograph of the dancers in the swan pas de troi(taken by Mark Winter)
Wendell Brock at Arts Critic ATL gave us a positively stunning review:
laywright Rachel Teagle infuses her telling with lots of funny business, contemporary references and a streamlined trajectory of the journey of the Ugly Duckling (Andrew Crigler). Ugly encounters a gaggle of wild geese led by a showman named Captain Hooks, who claims to be the “loosest goose this side of the ’Hootch” (Will Shuler). Among Hooks’ entourage is a funny-talking Canadian named Alberta (Emma Jackson). Instead of spending time in the home of an old peasant woman with a hen and pussycat, Ugly is adopted by a snarky Cat (Ben Isabel) and Chicken (Jessica Miesel), loosely based on celebutantes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Riffing on Hollywood’s penchant for odd baby names, the fashion terrors christen the duckling “Bookcase.” Naturally, they read him the riot act.
Clowdus has said he was moved to do this piece by the national conversation around bullying. Indeed, there is much talk here about Ugly “going through a phase,” something he’ll “grow out of.” Such are the code phrases that society uses to dismiss budding homosexual behavior. In the opening sequence, the narrator instructs us that nature is a mirror of life; when the water grows still, we can see our shapes in it. This story, then, is a reflection of the evanescence of life, a forever-shifting kaleidoscope of vanity, narcissism, shadows, light, trickery, transformation.
And the new Atlanta Theater Fans website loved it too, and even gave me a little nod, namely "Those slightly older (but still young at heart) will enjoy playwright Rachel Teagle’s witty banter and sharp cultural references."
Even the Danish American Consulate gave us a shout-out. The Danes do love their Hans Christian Anderson, as do we.
Speaking of Hans Christian Anderson, Jessica Fleitman's The Average Sized Mermaid" is gearing up for the New York Fringe. If you can't make it to the show, there's a way to support the production with a donation online or by purchasing their MER-chandise. Get it? I've seen a lot of our high school friends step up and support her, which is really wonderful. Go Jess Go!
This week also marks the beginning of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I'm sure I'll be wistfully paging through the website a lot for the next week. Anyone planning on going? Let me know when you see something wonderful.
And speaking of wonderful things - in September, I'm heading up to New York to see the Truffle Theatre Company's Truffle Hunt New Play Festival featuring my play "The Impracticalities of Modern Day Mastodons." They've got a neat Production Blog so expect some forthcoming cross posting.