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Fringe Competition continues with genius storytelling in three don't-miss exhibits

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On my third day on the Calgary Fringe Theatre Competition, I spent an hour with virtuoso solo performer Steven Morton, after which spent one other hour with Paul Sussman as he tried to make sense of the loopy issues he and different individuals imagine, earlier than spending an extended a part of the night time with Martin Dockery and Andrew Broaddus as they tried to cease arguing lengthy sufficient to placed on a play.

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While you spend any time with Calgary musical theatre artist Steven Morton, it doesn’t take lengthy to understand you’re within the presence of genius.

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In his present fringe present, Drag Me Kicking and Screaming, that realization comes little greater than 10 minutes into his storytelling when Morton remembers auditioning, as a young person, for a area people manufacturing of Peter Pan. The music he had ready was You’ll By no means Stroll Alone from the musical Carousel solely to be taught on the final minute, from one other attendee, it was a music for a middle-aged lady and never applicable for somebody hoping to play Captain Hook. Morton modified the lyrics of the music and in his new present explains how he sang and staged it to impress the administrators. It’s tough to know whether or not to applaud Morton’s wealthy voice or his witty lyrics, however applaud and cheer the viewers did.

Kicking and Screaming, like Morton’s earlier fringe present, Drag Me to the Opera, is very private. It’s an try to elucidate why it took him so lengthy to comply with his coronary heart and grow to be a musical theatre artist when he knew from a really early age that was all he needed to do.

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There have been so many obstacles, beginning with the cash wanted to take singing, dancing and performing classes. Then there was his Mormon faith which noticed theatre as a den of iniquity and his personal closeted fears of being homosexual. Morton has songs to take care of every of those points as effectively.

He sings an extremely poignant rendition of I Don’t Know Methods to Love Him from the musical Jesus Christ Famous person when a fellow pirate from Peter Pan kisses him at a celebration and makes use of What Do You Do With a B.A. in English from Avenue Q to explain his dilemma after getting a enterprise diploma. Morton sings one among his personal compositions when he grapples together with his sexuality as an grownup after which makes use of the anthem Expressing Your self from Billy Elliot to indicate how he felt when he acquired to play a drag queen in Theatre Calgary’s manufacturing of Billy Elliot.

Morton is performing within the ATCO Performing Arts Centre at 1371 Hastings Crescent S.E. which is about quarter-hour away from Inglewood however being in his firm for even simply an hour is effectively well worth the trek.

Paul Sussman
Paul Sussman in a solo present, Past Perception, on the Calgary Fringe.


In his press supplies for his solo present, Past Perception, Paul Sussman says he’s going to take a look at a few of the extremely bizarre issues individuals imagine. For possibly 5 minutes, he does rattle off some wild conspiracy theories, however then turns the mirror on himself and appears at a few of the bizarre issues he believed and did.

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He turns into his eight-year-old self to elucidate his fleeting perception in God, although claiming even at that younger age he actually couldn’t discover any concrete proof to help his beliefs. It’s this younger self who additionally has a reasonably highly effective premonition that made him refuse to get again on a tour boat. He’s by no means been capable of absolutely perceive that have which, he says, offers him a greater understanding of how individuals can imagine such unbelievable issues as mounted elections, baby trafficking from a pizza parlour, or reject the information of world warming.

Flash forward to a twentysomething Paul who, with the assistance of some LSD, managed to seduce his greatest buddy’s girlfriend and the way that performed havoc together with his thoughts, however it’s the present Paul who’s at a a lot additional finish of the Paul spectrum who’s grappling with the present state of bizarre beliefs.

Past Perception is stream-of-consciousness storytelling. Sussman simply retains rambling on, typically making sense, however at different occasions seeming to keep away from any actual continuity or goal.

What makes this work, and it does for the higher a part of his hour, is that Sussman appears so comfy and spontaneous. It doesn’t appear as if that is some well-rehearsed monologue, which in fact it’s. He does make it appear as if he’s recalling these moments within the second.

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Sussman desires to indicate his expertise as an actor so he performs a number of different characters who speak to Paul, and, in a single sequence as if hypnotized, they make him recall these incidents from his previous.

Past Perception runs within the basement of the Lantern Church which couldn’t be extra applicable particularly when Sussman describes how his Sunday faculty classes happened in what kids referred to as the dungeon of their church.

Calgary Fringe
Lengthy Night time of the American Dream with Andrew Broaddus and Martin Dockery on the Calgary Fringe.


It doesn’t take lengthy in Lengthy Night time of the American Dream for the viewers to understand they’re being manipulated by two very expert performers and an much more expert playwright.

Martin Dockery, who wrote Lengthy Night time, stars reverse Andrew Broaddus in what quantities to a play inside a play inside a play. Given how convoluted the scenario turns into, you would really drag that analogy on even a bit of longer.

Broaddus claims that Dockery promised to write down a play for them to carry out on the Fringe, however when he arrived in Calgary per week in the past, Dockery admitted he’d had author’s block. That’s when Broaddus claims he discovered an ideal play for them in a library. This play is a few pair of brothers who’ve all the time had main sibling rivalry. Dockery has not memorized his strains as a result of he suspects Broaddus wrote the play and refuses to memorize one thing written by an actor.

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The viewers is supposed to imagine that every one the bickering that ensues is de facto the play Broaddus wrote and that we’re ready for his play to start, however in actuality, that is the play that Dockery wrote, however we’re nonetheless meant to attend. If this sounds suspiciously like a riff on Samuel Beckett’s existential masterpiece Ready For Godot, possible, that’s exactly what it’s meant to be. It is also a riff on Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Useless, or Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker. These are the ballparks the place Dockery is enjoying and there are lots of occasions when he hits a house run.

All that bickering sounds so pure, however that’s as a result of Dockery and Broaddus are such expert actors. What’s much more wonderful is the ability it took Dockery to write down this dialogue in order that it flows so simply and sounds so actual.

Equally spectacular is how Dockery and Broaddus are all the time conscious of the viewers, and the way they improvise to make use of one thing they see or hear.

Lengthy Night time of the American Dream, which runs in Competition Corridor, is a mind-bending expertise, and also you simply know Dockery and Broaddus are grinning gleefully behind these stoic faces at simply how simply and totally they’re manipulating the viewers for 70 minutes.

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