It is time again for TheConveyor.com to put forth our opinions and bestow the Awards of Excellence for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. 2011 was another top notch year with the quality of productions up again. This year's difference was that no single show was way ahead of the pack. Our top shows all were very close in ranking, making it very difficult to pick just one show at the top. We made a choice, but I think this year a case could be made for three or four shows to be the overall best. We had to chose only one.
Best Overall Fringe Production You Only Live Forever Once from the Four Humors Theater
The Top Tier by Genre – In addition to the best overall production, we recognize the top tier of productions. The shows listed below in each grouping represent the best of the festival, FringeNext and the workshops were not included. Each genre, as defined by our reviewers, breaks the festival out into comparable categories. In each genre we have listed, in alphabetical order, the shows that stand out as exceptional.
Best Narrative Denali Melancholy Play Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown Peyote Business Lunch The Lydia Etudes – About Loving Anton Chekhov
Best Non-Narrative 101 Rules For Dating (of which you will hear 20 or so…) Darker The Body Speaks: Scripted To and Fro and Up and Down Vindlevoss Family Circus Spectacular
Best Story Telling/One Person Show Curriculum Vitae Headscarf and the Angry Bitch I Love You (We're Fucked) Missing: the fantastical and true story of my father's disappearance and what I found when I looked for him
Rip in the Atmosphere The Body Speaks: Movement White Girl
Another way we honor the participants of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival is by identifying many elements of each production that deserve recognition. The awards listed below single out individuals and elements of shows that were exceptional. They are ranked in order.
Best Individual Performances George Alexander in Peyote Business Lunch Joe Hutcheson in Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown Mindy Heithaus in Darker and The Body Speaks: Scripted Dawn Arnold in The Lydia Etudes – About Loving Anton Chekhov
Best Ensemble Peyote Business Lunch Darker You Only Live Forever Once
Best Musical Moment Music From The Proof: A Workshop I Love You (We're Fucked) Headscarf and the Angry Bitch Opal Opus: Journey to Alakazoo
Funniest Show You Only Live Forever Once Curriculum Vitae Peyote Business Lunch 101 Rules For Dating (of which you will hear 20 or so…)
Best Script Chris Wesselman, Paul Lieber, and Christopher Karr for Peyote Business Lunch Joe Hutcheson for Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown Jason Ballweber, Ryan Lear, Dan Peltzman, Rachel Petrie, Mark Rehani and Matt Spring for You Only Live Forever Once
Best Overall Moment The inclusion of FringeNext and FringeDevelopment series, a great way to expand the festival. The 'giant' mouse trap in You Only Live Forever Once Michael Hall in a towel and a 10 gallon hat in The Body Speaks: Scripted Jessica Ferris squeezing through the frame of a folding chair in Missing
Most Fringey Show Vindlevoss Family Circus Spectacular! Tooth and 'Nuckle The Body Speaks: Scripted
The Conveyor is again proud to announce our Awards of Excellence for the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. This year's festival continues to possess a consistent high level of quality. After seeing about as much Fringe as is humanly possible (but not every show!), we wanted to give our opinion on the best. Using a set of categories and groupings we created to best compare all of the varied types and genre of performance, we have come up with what we believe represents the best of the festival. First we considered the 1 production that stood about all of the rest:
Best Overall Fringe Production Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I
The Top Tier by Genre – The shows listed below in each grouping represent the best of the festival. Each genre, as defined by our reviewers, breaks the festival out into comparable categories. In each genre we have listed, in alphabetical order, the shows that stand out as exceptional.
Best Narrative Harold The Council Medea
Best Non-Narrative Theatrical Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I A Short Lecture of a Different Time Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn The Finkles' Theater Show
Best Movement/Dance/Interdisciplinary Just Say Know Money Back Guarantee That One Show
Best Story Telling/One-Person Show A Brief History of Petty Crime A Night of Well Adjust Ladies Ain't That Good News Blue Collar Diaries
Another way we want to honor the people and teams in this year's Cincinnati Fringe Festival is by identifying many elements of each production that deserve recognition. We’ve created awards, as listed below, which point out individuals and elements of shows that stood out. They are ranked in order.
Best Individual Performers Jason Ballweber as Harold in Harold Chris Wesselman in Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I Taylor Cloyes as Willow/Rose in Sophie's Dream
Best Ensemble Harold Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I Madea
Funniest Show Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn The Council Soul Juice A Night of Well Adjusted Ladies
Best Script Michael Comstock for Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn Nick Ryan for Harold Christopher Karr, Mike Miller & Chris Wesselman for Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I
Best Musical Moments Ain't That Good News Sophie's Dream Soul Juice
Best Overall Moment Oklahomahatma in Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn The visualization of the Murder of Madea's Children in Madea The Historian becoming digital in A Short Lecture of a Different Time Banging the Gong with the head of a dead councilmember in The Council One Phrase: Scarecrow Fucker from Harold
Most Fringey Show The Finkles' Theater Show A Short Lecture of Different Time The Council
CityBeat has announced great news that on Sunday August 30th the 13th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards will be presented at a hip club, showcasing the best of Cincinnati Theatre. The CEAs are Cincinnati’s longest running theater awards program, using votes from the public and from established theater critics to determine winners in 20 different categories. Everyone had a great time last year at BELOW ZERO LOUNGE (1122 Walnut Street, Over-the-Rhine, www.BelowZeroLounge.com) and the 2009 event is back.
The Conveyor is proud to announce our awards of excellence for the 2009 Cincinnati Fringe Festival.After seeing about as much Fringe as is humanly possible, we wanted to give our opinion on the best.We have created a series of categories and groupings and have come up with what we believe represents the best of the festival.
Best Overall Fringe Production
Empire of Feathers
The Top Tier by Genre – The shows listed below in each grouping represent the best of the festival. Each genre, as defined by our reviewers, breaks the festival out into comparable categories. In each genre we have listed, in alphabetical order, the shows that stand out as elite.
Empire of Feathers
The Success Show
Best Non-Narrative Theatrical
Assholes and Aureoles
It Might Be OK
The 4 Food Groups
Best Story Telling – Non-Theatrical
Sex, Dreams, and Self Control!
The Terrorism of Everyday Life
During Fringe there have been many elements of each production that deserve recognition. We’ve created awards, as listed below, which point out individuals and elements of shows that stood out. They are ranked in order.
Best Individual Performers
David Gaines in 7(x1) Samurai
George Alexander in The Success Show
Karen Wissel in The Edge
It Might Be OK
4 Food Groups
Guns and Chickens
Empire of Feathers
The Success Show
Sex, Dreams, and Self Control!
Assholes and Aureoles
Michael Comstock for The Success Show
Sarah Underwood for Gravesongs
Best Musical Moments
Ed Hamell for Terrorism of Everyday Life
Ken Early and Liz Vosmeier in Jacques Brel Lonesome Losers of the Night
S.R. Woodward for the music in The 4 Food Groups
Kevin Thorton for Sex, Dreams, and Self Control
Brant Miller for the music in April Fools
Best Overall Moment
The umbrella sequence from It Might Be OK
The techno music’s emotional breakdown in April Fools
The four way spit-take in The 4 Food Groups
The brave audience member who took a bite from the onion in The Success Show, then took a second bite.
Three young velvet clad actors sat down with me in front of the Know Theatre’s stage. At the end of the interview as I took the picture accompanying the article the three actors, Vandit Bhatt, Anne Marie Carroll, and Todd Patterson, all realized they were wearing something velvet. All three are very unique but they all bring two new elements to the Know’s 2007-2008 Season, freshness and enthusiasm. All three resident Know actors warmly demonstrated a rich passion for their craft. At the same time they are just really nice people who put forth a sense of normalcy one doesn’t expect if you buy into the old fashioned stereotypes of actors. I’ve met a few actors around Cincinnati and sometimes connecting with their audiences is not the favorite thing in the world. I was floored by the comfort all three had talking with me about their ideas, their careers, their acting experience, and their life this season working at the Know. That personal connection to the performers adds so much more to the theatre experience. At local theatres, like the Know, you can meet the actors and talk about their craft, their performance, the art of acting. That gives you value for your ticket far exceeding the price.
Anne Marie Carroll In our discussion I asked the trio about their favorite role so far. For Anne Marie Carroll it was her portrayal of May in “Fool For Love” by Sam Sheperd. She is a very beautiful woman who has a very Midwestern mindset. She came across as a grounded person who works very hard and is very conscious about the effort she puts into her craft. I also asked about the role this season each actor was looking forward to. With a warm wit Anne Marie declared that she is really looking forward to the next show. Males dominated the first production (“The Pillowman”), which included Vandit and Todd in key roles. Anne Marie professed her bias for musicals and she’ll get her chance to perform on stage in “Christmas to Come” opening on December 6th. Behind the scenes she was responsible for one of the more curious technical elements of “The Pillowman.” Near the end of the show Todd’s character, Katurian, is shot in the head. Yea, the run of the play is over, so I gave away the ending! A “squib” is then used to splatter fake blood on the back wall. My friends and I who saw the show together got into a nerdy discussion as to how they did it. We sat in the front row and couldn’t figure it out. It was like a magician’s trick. The two guys gave her a little lite ribbing about it. My guess is that it was one of the more technical challenges the actors face, as opposed to the technical staff. It might also be one of the more enjoyable parts of the show for Todd, who likely had to trigger it. I have to wonder who got to clean it up every night. The bad part is, they wouldn’t tell me the secret. I’m going to have to follow-up with them later and find out how they did it. Those are the little theatre stories that don’t get told in the media, but that make theatre a lifestyle unto itself. Anne Marie’s favorite drink is a “Moscow Mule” (Vodka, Lime Juice, Ginger beer- served in a cold copper cup) She’s not yet found a bar serving one in Cincinnati. She’s had a little bar tending experience, so I’ll take her word that it is a good drink. Her other big interest is in photography, which she as a younger person dreamed of taking portraits as a way of supporting her acting career. She chuckled remembering that, most because of the fact that she was trained in traditional photography (on actual film) and she therefore feels left behind in the world of photos.
Vandit Bhatt The most laid back of the group was Vandit Bhatt. He had a beard for the show and comparing it to his head shot, I wondered if he purposely grew it for the show or if that was just a new look for him. He showed that heis laid back when he didn’t mind that I mispronounced his name. He at least didn’t show it. I’ll likely mess it up again, but my shortcomings don’t phase an actor who comes across with a sly sense of wit, but with an undertone of intensity that exploded with his performance in “The Pillowman.” He was the last person asked about his favorite theatre genre, and after the first two answered “musicals” he smoothly quipped “Ah…I shy away from Musicals,” after which Ann Marie and Todd burst out laughing. I take it that Vandit is not keen on singing, or at least his singing in comparison to the others. I think I should have asked him about that, but not every actor needs to be an opera singer. Vandit favors a Rum and diet Coke as his drink of He’s not one to drink for the experience of drinking, it is more about the other affects of drinking. He was emphatic that he does not drink Tequila. He favors Shakespeare as his favorite theatre genre and is wild about movies.
Todd Patterson The most energy of the trio clearly lies with Todd Patterson. His personality is so very contrary to his first Know performance at the introspectively intense Katurian. His outside interests includes sports (soccer), but he sticks to acting in the theatre realm. He’s a beer drinker, so the Christian Moerlein OTR Pale Ale is he drink of choice at the Underground bar. I asked about how they worked on dialects for the roles in “Pillowman” and Todd mockingly and loudly whispered “For some people it didn’t take that long…” which was a light hearted ribbing of Vandit. The production included accents for three of the four leads. “It is another layer you put on-top of your role,” he said.
When I asked if they still get nervous before a show, the consensus was fairly clear. They don’t dread the show until the last second before the curtain goes up. Each had a different comment that showed a different layer of each actor’s personality: When thinking about doing a good job on stage or when thinking about performing here is what comes to mind: Todd: “Not gonna fuck it up” Ann Marie: “My nerves lie with singing.” Vandit: “Nervousness, at least for me, is that you don’t want to disappoint the audience”
“They trust us with the characters,” Todd confessed while saying that in most other theatres he and Vandit wouldn’t have been given the roles in “The Pillowman” they played. “This is the best an actor can get right out of college,” Vandit said, enforcing the trust he feels the Know Theatre has placed on him.
The next production all three appear in is “Christmas.to.Come”” a reworking of a reworking of Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” The show starts December 6th and runs through the 28th. Tickets are available online at www.knowtheatre.com or by calling 513.300.KNOW.