What: Tiger Tail by Tennessee Williams
Where: Theatre Downtown 2113 N. Orange Ave. Orlando, FL 32804 (theatredowntown.net)
When: June 13 – 29, 2013 Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays @ 8pm Sunday matinees June 16 and 23 @ 2:30pm
For tickets call 407-841-0083
The darkness of Tennessee Williams’ Tiger Tail is immediately apparent when one enters the more dim than usually lit theater for the current production at Theatre Downtown. The exquisitely designed set, a crafty replica of an out of sorts, backwoods Mississippi plantation home is barely visible from the intimate seating enjoyed even from the theater’s back row. But then, as the stage lights come up and the set comes fully into view, it is the actors who, under the highly experienced direction of Frank Hilgenberg, actually begin to illuminate the less desirable aspects of the human condition which so characterize the majority of Tennessee Williams’ works.
From the cold calculation of ambition that drives Archie Lee Meighan (Tim Bass) to burn down a neighboring cotton gin, to the boiling passion of revenge that compels Silva Vacarro (Frank Casado) to immediately seek retribution far outweighing his damages, the actors, for the most part, incorporate adequate authenticity into their performances, rendering the characters both real and accessible to the audience.
For instance, Baby Doll (Brenna Arden Warden) finds herself in an unbearable situation, having been preordained to marry the much older and unattractive Archie Lee, and standing helpless as his inadequacy as a plantation owner, not to mention a husband, leads to the repossession of their furniture, as well as to Archie Lee resorting to arson. Yet, thanks to Williams’ writing and the subtle strength Warden cleverly lends to her character, Warden avoids coming across as a caricature of the helpless southern bell and succeeds in a portrayal of a strong woman torn between the propriety of the time and a desire to escape a destiny she didn’t design for herself.
Additionally, amidst the chaos of the other main characters, Baby Doll’s simple, slightly off-kilter Aunt Rose Comfort (Sarah Benz Phillips) provides comic relief while symbolizing society’s tendency to turn a blind eye — accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative so to speak. Although, at times, Phillips falls victim to the cartoonish nature of her character, in her most genuine moments, she is forgiven as the true naivety and innocence of her character are revealed.
Of course, this also has a sad component to it, and therefore Williams provides even more comic relief through Ruby Lightfoot (Jossalyn Moukouanga) and Two Bits (Winona Wiley), whose wonderfully delivered, short, bubbly visits to the stage remind the audience of the absurdity of the main characters’ notions, despite the serious nature of their circumstances.
In the end, Tiger Tail, while less known than his other works, is exactly the quality and complexity one would expect from Tennessee Williams. And with it, Frank and Fran Hilgenberg and the volunteer cast and crew are providing the professional quality theater that continue to make Theatre Downtown one of Orlando’s most treasured entertainment providers.
Review by Doug Shorts
THE HUMOR MILL ORLANDO PRESENTS BARACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, AT THE 2013 ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL’S BLACK VENUE. THE SHOW IS AN HOUR OF MUSICAL PARODIES AND ORIGINAL SKETCH COMEDY DIRIVED FROM IMPROVISATION IN THE STYLE OF THE SECOND CITY.
THIS IS THE HUMOR MILL’S FOURTH YEAR AT FRINGE. BARACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, A REVIEW ABOUT STARTING OVER AGAIN, PLAYS MAY 17TH
AT 7:30 PM, MAY 18TH AT 11:45 PM, MAY 20TH AT 8:45 PM, MAY 21ST AT 7:30 PM,
MAY 23RD AT 9:45 PM, AND MAY 25TH AT 3:45 PM AT THE BLACK VENUE AT THE
VENUE ORLANDO, 511 VIRGINIA DRIVE. ADMISSION IS $11 (PLUS THE PURCHASE OF A FRINGE BUTTON).
TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED ONLINE AT WWW.ORLANDOFRINGE.ORG.
FOR INFORMATION CALL (407) 340-8574 OR
Show: Barack to the Drawing Board by The Humor Mill Orlando
What: Original Musical Parodies and Sketch Comedy in the Style of The Second City
Director and Executive Producer: Kelly Rands
Managing Director: Jennifer Rands
Cast: Melody Carson, Rick Coates, Jonathan Jimenez, Mark J. Richman, Kristin Schaare, Amanda Stafford, Aileen Suseck
Rating of Show: Mature Audiences
Link to Fringe site: http://orlandofringe.ticketleap.com/-the-humor-mill-orlando-presents-barack-to-the-drawing-board
Theatre UCF Brings Teachings of MLK to Children in New York and Orlando
ORLANDO, May 10, 2013 – Students and faculty from the University of Central Florida spent their spring break in Ithaca, NY presenting a new, devised play about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to elementary students. During the last week of classes this spring, the Theatre students were able to perform We Carry the Dream in Orlando at the Orlando Science Center.
Theatre faculty member Be Boyd organized the project, which was a collaboration with the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca. Jesse Bush, the Associate Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre, was the playwright and collaborator for the piece. He visited UCF in February to work with the cast before they traveled to New York.
“Devising a new play gets back to the heart of the creative process, the stimulation of ideas, a spontaneous environment that students aren’t experiencing in a scripted environment,” says Boyd.
Boyd says the group knew the play was going to focus on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and that it needed to reach contemporary youth. “These kids have never experienced segregation. They hear people complaining about standing in lines to vote, but don’t understand that at some time not so long ago, they wouldn’t have had the right to vote.”
“We knew that we could somehow help the younger students connect his values and legacy to their own lives. Most people know he was a leader of the civil rights movement, but don’t know what his values were. They don’t know the enormous amount of organization, energy, and braveness it took to create the March on Washington or the Montgomery Bus Boycott. We wanted to help the younger generation understand this,” continues Boyd.
“For the first few couple of weeks in rehearsal, we’d throw out a word like ‘unity’ or ‘perseverance’ and then would do a sound, movement, or improv activity about the word. We recorded the sessions so we’d have material to build the script. We sent the recordings to Jesse and he created an outline for us based on the material we had created. Then we fleshed out the outline with more details.”
“We were devising a script in a manner similar to the way that Martin Luther King, Jr. devised the future for African Americans. You have to be willing to take a risk, and it can be frightening, but it is exhilarating and exciting to see the process at work,” says Boyd.
“The students were absolutely captivated by the soulful voices that filled our cafeteria, the enthusiastic personalities of the cast, and the overall history and message that was being delivered,” says Julianne Tvaroha, an Elementary Art Teacher at Groton Elementary School in Ithaca.
Terrance Jackson, who graduated this spring with a BFA in Acting, says this experience influenced his career choice. “I will be working at the Barter Theatre for the next 15 months, where I will be doing a three month tour from January to March, performing shows for the exact same audience age as we did for We Carry the Dream, so this experience has given me insight on what to expect and how to deal with theatre for young audiences.”
Stage management student Christa Arzon was excited to make professional connections outside of Orlando, but also had a personal reason for wanting to be a part of the experience. “Growing up in Orlando, I had never seen snow and was excited beyond belief! We were also able to spend a few days in New York City and to see so many Broadway shows and really experience the city again only further confirmed my motivation to live there. I feel that I grew so much through this. The learning experience, connections, and fun I had made it all worth it.”
The partnership between Theatre UCF and the Hangar Theater is one that has been building over the past several years. Boyd says that the relationship started a many years ago when Stephanie Yankwit, Artistic Director for Hangar, was excited by a production of Antigone that Boyd directed in North Carolina. “Stephanie came to UCF to recruit for interns, and once here, she really liked our students and the work they do. We’ve now had many students, both actors and stage managers, participate in their summer Lab program.
The hope is that this production will launch an annual collaboration with Hangar Theatre to develop new pieces that are nurtured and staged in Orlando at the University of Central Florida and then are shared with young audiences in Ithaca.
The project was funded by the College of Arts and Humanities Dean’s Office, the UCF Office of Diversity Initiatives, and the MLK Orlando Commission.
Join Central Florida Community Choir, nearly 275 voices strong, as it presents When You Wish…, a concert full of Disney favorites! With songs from Disney movies, theme parks, TV shows and Broadway musicals, this concert will have something for everyone! The show is scheduled to include music from:
Princess and the Frog, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, plus all the classics from your childhood and beyond! Continue reading
SANFORD – From the moment the music starts in WDPAC’s current production of A Chorus Line, the nearly empty stage comes to life with high energy choreography (Kitty Serpe) and the genuine performances of a commendable cast, directed by Randy Tapper. Set in an empty Broadway theater in 1975, though truly timeless due to its character driven nature, A Chorus Line tells the story of seventeen dancers auditioning for eight spots in the biggest Broadway show of all time. Throughout the opening number, the actors portray a cacophony of emotions including excitement, uncertainty, desperation, confidence, and passion. Additionally, there are some well placed bits of humor, and everything comes together so that, despite a few vocal pitch problems, by the time the opening sequence is finished, and the cast is reduced to it’s primary nineteen characters, the audience is noticeably engaged and prepared for an enjoyable show to follow.
MOUNT DORA — “Pilgrimage,” the new exhibit at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, is really about two journeys — painter Logan Marconi’s trip to Prague in the Czech Republic, and his journey toward knowledge and self-knowledge.
Orlando Arts Blog
Winter Park Playhouse will be getting down with the sounds of the BeeGees and K.C. & the Sunshine Band when it opens “8 Track: The Sounds of the 70′s” on Friday, June 21.
Orlando Arts Blog
As the new kid on the block here at Orlando Shakes, I thought it would be a good idea to get to know everybody at the office and with the help of our trusty blog, readers can come along with me! First up: Gina Yolango, Box Office Manager. Favorite Shakespeare play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Favorite […]
Orlando Shakes Blog
Orlando singer-actress Andrea Canny will star in a cabaret titled “Cab Fab” Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, at the Master Class Academy Theater.
Orlando Arts Blog