Friday, August 13, 2010

The Velvet Gentleman

I do not like to be alone.

My therapist advised me to think about what I am thinking. Why am I thinking that? Where does this thought come from? This evening I had to ask myself ... what's the rush?

Forgetting we have half-days at work during the summer, I scheduled my flight (rewind that - my wife reserved the flight based on the information I provided to her, because I fear making reservations) for 6.30 from CAK. Getting off work at 1, I went to the airport and considered a) hanging around in the Great Lakes Brewing Co. pub for three hours, getting hammered on Lake Erie Monster while reading Crooked River Burning or b) seeing if I could just show up at another gate to leave early, without having to pay the $50 fee.

I opted for the latter. If I had done the former, I would only just now be checking into my hotel (The Larchmont, thanks again, sweetheart) and have a serious headache.

Checking in 8.30, I realized I could actually catch a NY Fringe show tonight! I mean, really! I hightailed (really, not cooling, walking fast in the West Village) to the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre for something which may have proved interesting; The Velvet Gentleman which is actually titled The Altoona Dada Society Presents The Velvet Gentleman, a play which pretends to be an amateur "dada" theatrical company putting on a newly discovered bio-play about Erik Satie.

I really like the program-within-a-program featuring the bios and other information for the fictional actors who perform the play-without-the-play. The only problem I found with the production, which I enjoyed in fits and starts, was that in order to break the fourth wall by presenting people we are supposed to be believe are real people, and not people playing real people, is that we believe - or are persuaded to believe, or really want to - that they are not actors but real people who are also actors.


At 1 hr. 35 min. I would have been thrilled for the actual play within the play, the one about Satie. Those parts, thankfully, the lion's share of the actual production, were the most interesting, humorous, enjoyable, and so on. It was unfortunate for the performance that the show, which begins with the director/performer making flustered apologies to us, the real but also fake audience, about technical errors that may occur - when WHAAMMM, a large, dangerous-looking, rusty metal part of a curtain fell to the floor, exposing a number of surprised actors.

Only one of the company, John-Patrick Driscoll, tricked me into believing, for a moment, that that was part of the show, but soon after it became apparent that nothing so startling or believable was going to happen again. Mr. Driscoll was also excellent at dealing with a paste-on mustache that didn't paste on very well.

Viva la Fringe!

1 comment:

  1. David, better late than never, but I wanted to thank you for taking time to come to Cherry Lane to check out The Velvet Gentleman.

    Playlab NYC Managing Director, Jennifer Wilcox, and myself both come from Northeastern Ohio and it was nice that you happened upon our show.

    If I remember correctly, Jennifer was the lighting designer for a production of Hamlet that you were in a number of years ago in Cleveland.

    Thanks again for coming.