"I don't mind intimacy either. There are worse things out there in the dark."
Winnemucca (three days in the belly)
Jonah wakes up bruised, bloody and trapped in a seedy motel room on the outskirts of Winnemucca, Nevada. Big Chet's extreme motivational tactics and a powerful encounter with a dancer named Suede Lucy compel Jonah to complete a task he cannot fathom. This darkly funny re-imagining asks, "How do three days in the belly make a man a prophet?"
This was another kind of weird "non-preview preview," though a little more germane to the show to which it was related. One of the characters, Big Chet, drunk but friendly (to us), armed with an aluminum baseball bat, badgered (not so friendly) a "stranger" (actually fellow cast member Grayson) up onto the stage to entertain the crowd. Big Chet was of the opinion that the audience couldn't really get into the show until they learned a little bit about the performers first. So Grayson stumbled into a story of when a bug flew into his ear when he was a child, and how his sister lured it out with a flashlight. He couldn't actually finding meaning in it, or an end that was satisfactory to Big Chet. Grayson would keep thinking he was done. Big Chet and his baseball bat lurked nearby to assure him he wasn't. ("Don't stop the magic.") When the task was considered complete, Grayson asked, "Now what?"
"Now the show can begin," Big Chet replied
And we got our only blackout cue of the night.
Like I said, weird, but in keeping with the character dynamics of the show itself, as I know it from the script. I'm just wondering what other people who had no information about the show thought. It was intriguing enough to get someone's attention, certainly. But was it enough to get them in the seats? I hope so. The production's in my Top 10 list this year, so I'm really rooting for it to succeed and be seen by a lot of people. (And that's before I've even seen the actual production myself. Strong hunch.)
There is a bit a sampler of the actual show in their video trailer (at the end of the post), plus their travel mini-videos on the road to Minneapolis, which are pretty funny even if they have nothing to do with the story.
After the showcase, I finally got a chance to meet the whole crew and they seem like great people (Mom was particularly fond of Jenni's Yoda backpack). I told the playwright Dan that I really should hate him because he's so damn talented he's giving me a playwright inferiority complex. I'm hoping Fringe is good to them. I can't wait to see the production myself. Friday night (tonight).
Meantime, as we waited for our very first Fringe show to start yesterday, a friend in a Fringe show of his own asked, "I've been so in rehearsal/tech mode that I haven't really had a chance to get any of the buzz about what's good. What do you recommend?"
"Winnemucca (three days in the belly)," I said, without hesitation. "Amazing script. Probably one of the best in the festival this year."
So he headed off there for their opening performance that night. I was with them by proxy, at least, for their opening. I hope a lot of other people were, too.
Their website - www.shelbycompany.org
Their show page
Their video trailer
Travel video #1
Travel video #2
Travel video #3