Winner at the Poles!

Pole-300x300You Hold a Pole Everyday

Written by Laura Sisskin

Planet Connections Festivity

@The Clemente

107 Suffolk Street

NYC

Reviewer: Veronica Romero

 

You Hold a Pole Everyday was a very energetic, entertaining and relatable show. It brings you to places many find easy to remember like the first time you asked for a training bra when you didn’t need one and many others. It was very amusing, but it also had some deep meaning as well. Sisskin speaks of her sexual abuse and explains how she found comfort in pole dancing. She uses it as an expression of her pain and she makes herself feel better about it, by doing so she teaches others how to embrace themselves and most importantly how their body should be used to express themselves and how to take control of the body and the emotions used.

Laura Sisskin both writer and performer did a wonderful job. I was very impressed. She transitioned from different characters in and out of dancing and singing. She executed all the characters very well and it was a great story and so well orchestrated.

I really loved the meaning behind this play. It helps to make women feel more comfortable in their body embracing it showing how to love it no matter what. The combination of many elements well sewn together made this play what it was…amazing.

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In America, everyone is a lesbian!

Peace Camp Org.

Written by Mariam Bazeeb

Fresh Fruit Festival

The Wild Project

195 East 3rd Street

NYC

Review by Nusrat Hossain

 

Politics. The cause of peace … and destruction.  The politics behind the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel is one such instance. The Palestine and Israeli war began with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. After World War II. The Jewish people, having been uprooted from their homes by the Nazi’s in Germany and other countries did not have an established home to go to and the state of Israel was formed to provide one. They were given a large part of Palestine, which they considered their traditional home. However, the Arabs who already lived there and in neighboring countries felt that was unfair and didn’t accept the new country. Anger and chaos ensued.  

This play focuses on an Egyptian Muslim girl named Mariam. Mariam lives a life with her disabled mother, her overbearing uncle and a girl she occasionally hooks up with. Mariam dreams of getting away from the miserable walls of her mom’s apartment. She decides to go to a “peace building” camp in Maine, USA. The peace camp organization turns out to be a Zionist organization that changes her life forever. Through the organization, she ends up finding a hidden talent of singing. She is offered a scholarship for her singing along with a ticket out of her country.  

Peace Camp Org by Mariam Bazeed is a cleverly written piece that sheds light onto a topic not heavily discussed in social media. She sheds light on what it is like living in a strict Muslim household, where being lesbian is taboo and a great sin. Where girls are not given as much freedom as men, and where you are bound by society, family and religious expectations. One of my favorite lines in the play was, “She’ll come back to you a lesbian! In America, everyone is a lesbian!” Mariam’s story shows how completely different a person’s life can be from yours, but at the same time completely alike. Peace Camp Org stirs empathy in all audiences, especially the ones that can relate. I encourage all audiences to catch a glimpse of “Peace Camp Org”. This witty play filled with raw passion will surely capture your heart and leave you something to think about.  

BIRTH

pregnant-pause-ts-2-of-2-1PREGNANT PAUSE

Written by Kathleen Jones

Planet Connections Festivity

@The Clemente

107 Suffolk Street

NYC

Review by Amanda Kavaja

Amy Cazel stood at the crossroads in Kathleen Jones’ engaging and well-written one-person tome about a woman standing on the line between family and career. Regardless of strides for equality, this seems not to change. 

Amie Cazel did a wonderful job creating a reality essential to the execution of her character (some one-person pieces can get away with a sense of demonstration) and the hard decision she is forced to make. She showed us a gamut of emotions: frustration to fear; disappointment, regret, deep deep sadness all tied to a bright energy that allowed us to be voyeurs on her journey. 

The look at the future of this character by Jones was fascinating. No one can ever really see (except in hindsight) how decisions pan-out. It was interesting to hear common inner thoughts like “will my body ever be the same shape again?” and others that most women face when considering children.

Cazel should be praised for her depth. During the performance, it was hard to not notice the many women in the audience tearing up. The dialogue and its delivery spoke volumes. 


This play gave me the chance to see what making such a strong decision was like. 

The Dark Side

girlmirror_icon-300x290 (1).jpgGIRL IN THE MIRROR

Written by Nicoletta Mandriotti

Planet Connections Festivity @The Clemente

107 Suffolk Street, NYC

Review by Amanda Kavaja

 

 

This brief dance piece about a woman’s darker side as depicted by a battle between the inner works and that of the daily face was engrossing and – in so many ways – inspiring. The simple-yet-clever dance revolves around a woman and her love for herself and the other “not so nice parts.” Six women in white symbolize the goodness within her and two women wearing black clothing stand behind her … waiting.

Cemre Su Salur displayed utter poise and demonstrated a sense of still strength. Her dancing clearly expressed the way she felt always and she showed us great fear as she began shaking once the two women wearing black told her what she could and could not accomplish. The depth of emotion actually made it difficult to watch her sally through such torture, as the darker characters seemingly got the best of her. But Cemre Su Salur embodied her character with a fortitude to help her weather through. Tatiana Ronderos joined to express the opposing view by evoking Su Salur’s inner child and the innocence left inside. This gave us hope that the bright side would prevail. Tatiana Ronderos was marvelous as the younger version of the character.  Victoria Ric and Antonia-Sophia Scholz were subtle but ominous as the women in black. Representing the evil in her, creating life’s “plot twists.” Melissa Monconduit, Cat Grey, Franlis Rodriguez, Marissa Graham, Charom Seerra, and Carly Pecora, all chanting, humming and physical actions which remained in sync and organized when moving was wonderful to watch.

In the end, Su Salur did a wonderful job of portraying a woman [possibly] at a crossroads accessing her deepest thought to reveal her truest self. This all-woman performance was truly beautiful and apropos in this time when a woman’s identity is – once again – in question. The style of clothing was very chic and simple, revealing the simplicity of non-simplicity. Lighting – a simply use of fades and red gels, had a life of its own and the mesmerizing music was melancholy, moving and dark.  I hope that this dance will be highly recognized and deserves to be seen by many more people. Lovely piece. I was very happy to have attended.

Ruby: A Real Gem

susangross_icon-150x150.jpgRuby By Susan Gross

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

The Clemente, The Latea Theatre

Reviewed by Alexa Garcia

 

 

This emotion-packed tale would probably make you cry if it wasn’t for the clever bits of humor peppering this one-person narrative about a women’s journey post-miscarriage. We go along for this ride as she tries to cope with her grief, body issues and anxiety. Ruby (played with command and sincerity by author Susan Gross) takes us on a roller coaster ride trying to get past the confusion ensuing after the loss of her impending child. She tries to understand the loss, coupled with her continued desire to have a child while being surrounded by women who seem to have it all.

Both written and solo-performed by Susan Gross and directed by Jake Lipman, this show has seen many venues in its life – Virginia, Boston and New York City. Gross managed to tell an engrossing tale relatable to many on many levels.

Ruby delivers the kind of punch that connects you to its topic and gives you a powerful night in the theatre. Tongue in Cheek Theatre is known for presenting works of this caliber … you will laugh, you will cry, you will learn.  

 

Sweet!

BloodSugar_Icon-300x300.jpgBlood/Sugar written and performed by Diana Wyenn

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

Reviewed by Waeza Jagirdar

 

Blood/Sugar, based on a true story, written and performed by Diana Wyenn, and shares with us the tale of Type I Diabetes. Considering the fact that no one in her family ever had diabetes, nor has she ever met anyone who ever did, she has to face the harsh truth and accepting the reality alone per se.

 

Throughout this play, we discover the not-so-sweet facts about Diabetes and how it’s not seen as one of the important diseases in the United States – but should be. Although, we spend about 700 billion dollars every year for diabetes, majority of Congress believe diabetes came from obesity and that it’s a problem that we’ve created among ourselves. However, that isn’t true. Among the people in the U.S that have diabetes, more than 15% have it through other means. Many of the people, just like Wyenn, may have diabetes but not know about it due to the fact that 9 out of 10 don’t know they have pre-diabetes. It’s an alarming situation for everyone and the statistics aren’t helping the case. Type I Diabetes is rarer than the Type II variety. Wyenn is one of those rare people. She has an insulin pump around her hips and this helps her maintain a stable amount of insulin to go through. Nonetheless, she still has to deal with the problem of putting in the right amount of insulin, not too much or not too less because she could end up killing herself. Seriously.

Overall, this informative play about Diabetes brought great awareness to the circumstances. Through Wyenn’s fine acting and expert writing, I feel as though I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I will look at my own afflicted family members now in a new light.

What better compliment can I give except I think I need to get checked.

A Butterfly’s Wing

18-02-26_Jennifer-Joy-427x640.jpgThe Chaos Theory of Now

By Jennifer Joy

Fresh Fruit Festival

The Wild project

195 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10009

Thursday, July 19 at 6:30 pm

Alexa Garcia

This one-man staged reading production demonstrating three different paths the protagonist could’ve taken. The production presents four American women who must learn how to navigate today’s moral and political landscape. The Narrator describes herself as a lesbian science nerd that’s trying to comprehend her family’s Trumpism. She uses Chaos and Complexity Theories to take us through the struggles of an evangelical teacher, a widowed farmer’s wife, a closeted lesbian country singer and her punk Antifa daughter. It’s a powerful story of change and empathy.

The story is written and performed by Jennifer Joy. Joy has done stand-up at comedy clubs in NYC and SF. Not to mention she’s the Artistic Director of the multicultural eco-performance group, The SciArt6. The SciArt6 create performances such as puppet shows on food justice and dance/poetry pieces on the ecological history of Manhattan. The Chaos Theory Of Now is Jennifer Joy’s newest production created in 2017. The Fresh Fruit Festival was able to host this special presentation.

This fine work needs to be seen by many. What Joy was trying to explain about the butterfly effect and the chaos theory was so correct for our time. We don’t realize how many things affect our future – and who we will become. Using the current administration as a cautionary tale, Joy deftly shows us how today’s folly could be tomorrow’s downfall.

Time Well-Spent

island-of-no-time-2-color.jpgThe Island of No Time

Review by Jen Bush

To New Yorkers, time is a precious commodity.  It’s a fast-paced city and it’s best to keep up.  Imagine a place where time stood still.  Aging would not be a concern.  Deadlines would be non-existent, and you wouldn’t have to rush to get to anywhere.  In The Island of No Time, that is just the case.

The Island of No Time is an adult fairy tale takes place on an uncharted island.  Father and Mother Time no longer gave each other the time a day via a divorce.   This had a negative domino effect on the inhabitants of the island and on time itself which has come to a halt.  Their children; Hour, Minute and Second are stressed because they no longer have a job.  On another part of the island, a nefarious plan is in motion by two witches.  They would like to get their hands on two shipwrecked children who made their way to the island.  These witches are 999 years old.  Once they reach 1000, they will die, unless they can get the children to eat a trail of plants that lead directly to the witches.   At that time, they will occupy the children’s bodies and live on to rule the island.  It is in the witches’ best interests to keep Father and Mother Time remain separate so that time will not start up again causing their ultimate demise.  Did the witches prevail or did Father and Mother Time carve out some time for each other once more?  Well if you’ve got some time, you can see the show and find out.

This was an interesting show.  It’s fun to have a show run wild with fairy tale fodder aimed at adults.  The dialogue fluctuated between poetry and straight dialogue.  Some of the show had a Shakespearean feel to it.  The show was comedic and saucily salacious, especially when the witches were involved.  Puns, mostly about time were ubiquitous and every one of them worked beautifully.  Usually puns elicit groans, but these were cunning and elicited a lot of laughter.  The dialogue was well crafted, juxtaposing the finest words in the English language, but it was too verbose.  The monologue at the end given by Father Time was delivered with deep passion and conviction using meaningful words but it was so long and wordy that it was difficult to maintain attention.  Perhaps cutting some dialogue without compromising the integrity of the show is a possibility for future productions.  The character of Mother Time was slightly confusing.  Her dialogue seemed to indicate that she fit the description of Mother Nature.  Perhaps she was Mother Time because she took her husband’s last name.

The cast was an outstanding ensemble of talent.  Not a slouch in the group.  Each member of that cast gave it their all.

An absolute standout was Sam Underwood who played Badass Rabbit.  When he came on stage the energy shifted in a wonderful way.  Time stood still, pun fully intended.  He was so brilliant and engaging that it was impossible to focus on anyone or anything but him.  Not surprisingly, he has several hit shows under his belt including and currently, Fear of the Walking Dead.  I’m sure no one’s ever heard of it!  The individual playing his love interest Bob Jester was knee slappingly funny as Natterjack Toad.  He played it in a wonderfully over the top campy way and nailed it.  The siblings Anna and Dylan delightfully played by Rosalie Neal and Aidan Hart went from convincingly innocent to convincingly demented in the blink of an eye.  The witches, Deliadeath and Adamort were played deliciously by Kate Mueth and Rosie McGuire.  They really put themselves out there.

Father time was a lofty role with expansive dialogue.  Rinde Eckert took it on like a champ and did an equally good turn with a different accent mind you as Papa.  Isabel Keating was a joy as Mother Time.  She brought forth a strong independent character with grace and fine dramatic timing.  She too donned another accent and did a fine job as Mama.  Amanda Jones also had double duty as Crotchety Cat and The Queen of Stink and she did a great job of distinguishing the characters.  Michael Doonan did very well delivering some fractured dialogue as Nutty Tree.  Two Trees played by Peter McRobbie gave a solid performance as a convincing elder tree.  Second, Minute and Hour were adorably played by Patrick Moore, Dave Quay and Peter Gonzales.

This was a staged reading.  When the time comes, make some time to see The Island of No Time.  It will be time well spent.  The puns, they’re contagious!  I could go on but I’m out of time.

 

 

Lambish Wolf

RedandtheWolf- Promo 4 (1).jpegRed and Wolf By Ingrid Oslund

Fresh Fruit Festival @ The Wild Project

195 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10009

July 18 at 6:30 pm, July 21 at 7:00 pm

Review by Alexa Garcia

Red and Wolf is an apropos-for-the-venue reinvention of the classic tale of little red riding hood. The story is about a kinky encounter between two strangers which starts a peculiar conversation and atmosphere that makes both women question who is predator and who is prey. Clever, huh?

The production features only the titular red and wolf. The story is written and directed by Ingrid Oslund. It features Aislinn Brophy as red and Sara Kerr as Wolf. The two actresses were commanding and thorough.

I found question in the writing, however. Yes, it was a one-act but it still felt too short. An attempt at a deeper moral was made but much for fleshing out was needed. Clever idea … more meat.

 

DQ Spotlight: All Our Love to Sarah Matteucci

Kate_promo_600.jpg

All My Love, Kate

By Joe Breen

2018 Fresh Fruit Festival

The Wild Project

195 East 3rd Street

Review by Jade Fernandez

Joe Breen’s production of All My Love, Kate conveys what it’s like to be living in the United States during WWll. Men are dying, women are crying, and in Danny’s case so are the men. Jack, played by Brendan Cataldo and Danny, played by Matt W. Cody have fallen in love and are ready to build their lives together. Jack and Danny couldn’t be happier, that is until WWII began, and the couple found themselves miles and miles apart. While Jack is off fighting overseas, he is forced to deal with the brutality of war, the loss of his best friend, and most importantly keeping his love life alive. The need to stay in love becomes more critical than ever, given the fact that everything just seems to be stacked against the lovely couple. Although the odds of Jack and Danny making it through this difficult time are slim because Jack might not make it out of the war alive, still, both Jack and Danny manage to maintain faith.

Sarah Matteucci, who played Betty, friend and roommate of Jack and Danny had to improvise due to her devilish shoe that got stuck while performing. She kept going and it was even better because of it. She was very funny, and it wasn’t awkward for anyone at all. Betty was one the best characters in this production. All the actors did well and it was a powerful piece to watch. At times the way the actors had to pull in emotions because of that time in history and what was expected made a barrier for me sometimes.  I am much more used to men being able to express themselves and once I got used to the behaviors these actors clearly brought to us from the past I felt really connected to the story and the people.

All My Love, Kate brings the audience through a realistic view of the suffering and heartache that comes with war and being separated from loved ones.