“Oatmeal and a Cigarette” more than satisfies

I should not smile and giggle when a thirty year old man with a full beard and dread locks proclaims that he “made a poopie.”

But I did. Again and again.

Succinctly stated, this show is brilliant. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s poignant – all of the things a Fringe-goer has come to expect.

Written by award-winning New York playwright George Sapio, “Oatmeal” explores issues of exploitation, repressed memories, regression, and the power that human instinct holds over every decision we make.

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Anna the Slut and the (almost) Chosen One

I have a real love of mythology. One of my first classes at UC was a Mythology class, specifically Middle Eastern and Egyptian mythology, taught by Cynthea Smith (who still teaches it, by the way). The first thing we read was the Epic of Gilgamesh– all tales of strength and masculinity. Eh. The second was Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Later, when I got to teach world lit, this was one of the first things I tackled. It’s very “Ancient Girl Power”– very different from the malecentric myths we, as westerners, are more familiar with.

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Single vs. Married

A battle worthy of a Jet Li movie.

From a single man’s perspective, this was going to be a downer. Marriage isn’t high on my normal list of conversation. Oh crap, I’ve given away my bias. I falling along one side of the battle. I’m not against marriage. I infact want to get married someday, but not today, or this month, or likely this year.

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“Body Language” is one that we can all understand.

“Body Language,” the creation of Stacy Sims’ True Body Project, takes the audience on a journey.


It begins with a scientist in typical white lab coat and horn rimmed glasses, descending the stairs of the School for Creative and Performing Arts to share her wisdom, wit, and humor with the crowd gathered below. The entire audience is then moved upstairs and through the twisting hallways for a series of dramatic lessons in the mind/body connection.

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The Hotel Plays: Three by Horovitz

Before the Fringe festival starts, I pick out the shows I want to see. Most of the time I don’t know what to expect, unless I’ve seen a previous show from the producers. Coming in, I didn’t know who Israel Horovitz was. Yea, I ‘m not a theatre expert, nor a pop culture expert. Sure I know who Adam Horovitz is, but I had no idea that the father of one of Beaste Boy is such a great playwright. After the seeing the show I cetainly know who Isreal Horovitz is. I am amazed at the humor, crisp dialogue and gritty warmth that came from IF Theater Collective’s production of ‘The Hotel Plays: Three by Horovitz.’

This production has three stories linked together by a New York hotel. The set holds three parts, a restaurant table, a bed in hotel room, and a bar. Each are the focal point of one of the plays, but each interconnects as needed with the story.

Play One: ‘Fiddleheads and Lovers’ starts off the show in a restaurant as Ted Weil, Jen Dalton, and Tara Williams battle over pretension, dissolving marriages, food, and a little bit of chance. Plummy kisses bring out a smart, light and very funny storyline that is topped off with a dazzling sauce in the form of Jen Dalton who portrays a waitress at a foodie hotel restaurant with a richness and a full consistency. I was waiting for a plug from Lavomatic from one of the actors.

Play Two: ‘Speaking of Tushy’ begins and ends in a bar, but the hotel room with revolving occupants is crucial to understand the characters. All 4 actors shine in what come across as a crisp verbal farce, witty every time a British or French accent meets with another couple cheating on each other. Referencing A Streetcar Name Desire isn’t new, but Horovitz makes fun of every time someone’s yelled “Stella” at the top of their lungs when ordering a certain Belgian beer. If you are yelling it now, just after reading this, then you will laugh at the hilarity this second play runs with. It all comes back to Blanche’s ass in the end, anyway, doesn’t it? Maybe? Brian Berendts’ nearly faux Frenchman and Tara Williams ass sized obsessed hussy stand out with their affair ending exchange.

Play Three: ‘The Hotel Play’ is set apart from the other two. It is much more of a drama, with a little humor inside. The other women meets a bell-hop who is more than he seems. Two lives that are very apart find something in common.

The laughter was rampant from the audience during this play and it wasn’t just a light giggle or chuckle, it was a flock of guffaws. Pulling these three Horovitz plays together was a brilliant dash into the lives of normal yet troubled people, smart as hell, educated, but still messed up. Cincinnati Theatre goers will connect to this production. The first night wasn’t sold out, but I foresee the Know’s house filled for most of the run.

Here’s the “Catch”…

It’s very exciting to sit in an audience, knowing that the show you are about to see is being performed for the first time ever as it was intended. “Catch” is the labor of love of one Seth Moore, a University of Michigan student who not only wrote the piece, but co-directed it alongside Transit Five Productions Associate Artistic Director Julia Albain. It’s an effort that mostly pays off, with only minor missteps along the way.

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1 & 1

The Cyclones are headed to Las Vegas after last night’s loss in the ECHL championships. If necessary the series will return to Cinci June 5th & 7th for the final games. Sunday’s game was well attended and the crowd was surprisingly age diverse. Scoreless going into the 3rd period, the Wranglers hit the only goal of the game after a mildly aggressive exchange.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This year’s Mother’s Day outing included Cincinnati Ballet’s Serenade & Carmina Burana. Min Usha brought her mom as well. This was an ETA Member Event and a significant number of ETAers bought in. The show was great. I especially liked the opening & closing numbers of Carmina. I felt a little sleepy toward the end of Serenade but that’s more a result of recent activities than the ballet performance. Dracula is part of the 2008-09 Season and a lecture by George Balanchine. Good stuff.

Two Men Enter…

In what could be nothing short of an actor’s dream, Jason Bruffy and Eric Vosmeier mythically died in the final episode of the Story of the search for the 5th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival’s image. The special affects rival nothing since the epic movie The Great White North (aka Strange Brew) See the action for yourself!

By the way, get your Fringe Full Frontal pass NOW! If a show sucks, don’t worry, you don’t have to see it again.