The Indy Performance Project is theater's answer to the 48 Hour Film Project. Organized by Michael Burke, co-artistic director of PaperStrangers, it asks local troupes to create original material in only five days that meets five requirements: the use of a character name (Reginald Hammersmith III), of a yoga pose (eagle), of a certain prop (toilet paper), of a particular song and of the line, "Should your face look like that?" Performed at the IndyFringe Theater last weekend, the show featured four local performance groups in short sketches. It runs through June 16.
PaperStrangers: Nobody Puts Bebe in a Corner: The Bebe Neuwirth Boxing Story
Starring Daniel Barnes as Bebe Neuwirth, Rachel Elsts as "her" abused assistant and a volunteer audience member as her "lover," The Bebe Neuwirth Boxing Story featured an over-the-top version of Neuwirth, who grew somewhat famous for her role as Lilith on the hit NBC sitcoms Frasier and Cheers. Barnes plays Neuwirth as an alcoholic, self-involved, washed-up dancer/actress reduced to participating in celebrity boxing matches. After a big loss to Justin Bieber, Bebe waits with her entourage at an airport, tornadoes around the lounge and swills tequila hidden in a toilet paper role. Ridiculous in the best sense of the word.
Motus Dance Theatre: Should Your Face Look Like That?
Starring Tommy Lewey and Leslie Dodge, this sweet dance piece begins with two masked figures meeting on stage. Ripping masks off each other, the pair do a celebratory dance piece. They gracefully move together on stage, their gaiety climaxing as Dodge writhes on the floor showered in cash by Lewey, which he pulls from a nearby duffle bag. Simple, sweet and engaging.
Jsquared: Freeline: A Manifesto for Cat Justice
Starring Annalee Wallace, Alexa Glaser and Michael Burke, Freeline chronicles the quest of two cats: Catnip (dressed suspiciously like the fictional revolutionary pop culture character Katniss) and her partner and crime Mr. Tinkles (who struggles with an unfortunate bladder problem). The show was written by past DivaFest participants: Julie Mauro and Jessica Strauss.
After kidnapping a human man, the pair demand equal lavatory opportunity for cats. As they make their appeal for toilet paper, their misguided reasoning and reactionary interrogation culminates in a YouTube worthy scene of kittens rolling around in sheets of bathroom tissue.
NoExit Performance: Mystery Show Time of Sparkles and Treats For You
Starring Ryan Mullins and Georgeanna Smith. NoExit's favorite buffoon, Drosselmeyer, returns to the stage with an anti-magic show. This time, Drosselmeyer, who first gained recognition in NoExit's Nutcracker, appears on stage with a friend (and not-so-sexy magicians assistant) from the old country. While the show is packed full of tricks, the attempts at misdirection are the real magic behind this zany presentation. The blunt, often audience-berating clown just can't seem to get his delightfully bad magic act together, as one trick after another meets raucous laughter from the crowd. The real trick, Drosselmeyer is also laughing, not with but at us.