“Biblical Fan Fiction” is a spoof on the Old Testament, being performed at the Orlando Fringe festival.
ORLANDO — “Biblical Fan Fiction” is sort of like vaudeville meets a Sunday school class — or at least one that’s been taken over by some college kids who figure it would be, like, wicked funny to stick all these dirty words in the mouths of them Bible characters.
If you lead a local church and have been inclined to believe that society is abandoning the old-fashioned holy ways and instead embracing the worst that secularism offers, you might want to take your entire congregation over to see this one, so you can stand up at the end, nod, and give a hearty “I told you so.”
For the most part, though, I think “Biblical Fan Fiction” is, and was intended to be, harmless fun — although the show does convey a kind of artistic schizophrenia, a deep split between the playful and the obnoxious.
At times, it seems like the performers are not entirely sure what kind of show they wanted to present.
The show features four actors — Charlie Griffin, Christie Johnson, Joe Liorens and Lyndie Schmidt — taking on sagas from the Old Testament. The skits (written by Griffin) sometimes have the same kind of irreverent feel as Mel Brooks portraying Noah in his 1981 bad taste comedy “History of the World Part I.”
But there are also times when the show feels like it could have successfully been geared toward kids. Continue reading
“La Reina Yolanda” is a one-woman show by Leesa Castaneda being performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
ORLANDO – In a sense, it seems like a play about Alzheimer’s would naturally be dramatic and gripping, considering the turmoil and upheaval family members experience when a loved one gets this terrible diagnosis.
But that’s also the challenge of staging a play that deals at some point with Alzheimer’s: the subject matter scares people off. It’s depressing to think about, any one of us could go down that path, and it’s natural to want to avoid dealing with it, even in art.
So it sounds like a production dealing with Alzheimer’s would be too heavy, too downbeat, at a festival like Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, which has so many upbeat comedies to offer.
What’s so miraculous about the play “La Reina Yolanda,” written and performed by veteran actress Leesa Castaneda, is just how joyous an experience it is. A deeply moving piece, “La Reina Yolanda” chronicle the life of Yolanda, a woman born in Puerto Rico who comes to the United States as a child. She deals with a lot of hardship along the way, including an abusive first husband.
Then, when her life finally begins to settle down, and she revels in the joys that her children and then grandchildren bring to her life, she confronts an even more agonizing twist of fate, as she begins a slow battle with Alzheimer’s.
There’s even a harrowing moment when Yolanda feels like she can no longer endure her husband’s abuse, thinks she’s trapped and can’t escape, and contemplates suicide. Continue reading
“Pillow Talk” looks at two straight guys who have to share a bed together — at the Orlando Fringe Festival, of all places.
ORLANDO — So what is it with those straight guys?
You know, the ones who are so freakin’ uptight about their masculinity, or what the lunkheads over at the roadhouse are going to think, that even something as simple as a little friendly hug is way off limits. Sheesh.
In this hip era of gay marriage, where we’re all so enlightened and even healthy majorities of Catholics and Protestants favor those non-traditional nuptials, can’t a couple of straight guys just show a tiny bit of affection for one another — you know, just as buds — without the whole world thinking they’re just a couple of homos?
And now we have the answer, folks, courtesy of playwright Peter Tolan’s play “Pillow Talk,” brought to us by director Jamie DeHay.
The answer is one big, fat, hilarious NO!
If you’re wondering why, catch “Pillow Talk” at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. When you notice that the only thing on the stage is a bed, and that the play features just two actors (Logan Ayala and Jonathan “Gyo” Gamble), you get a pretty good sense of where things are headed.
So — the plot. Aaron (Ayala) and Doug (Gamble) are best buddies doing a cross-country road trip together. They spend a night with Aaron’s grandma, who is nice enough to let them share her bed while she sleeps on the couch in the next room. So Aaron strips down to his shorts, hops in bed, and is ready to call it a night.
Only — Doug isn’t. Continue reading