539 Tremont Street, Boston
June 12 – 21, 2014
Singer/performance artist Johnny Blazes and Kenneth Prestininzi’s “mean but hopeful comedy,” Ugmo and Eenie Go Down the Ruski Hole, comprised the first weekend of the festival and brought the house down with Johnny’s exhilarating voice and tragi-comic tales of the trans raconteur. Next, Ugmo and Eenie’s hilariously tragic dance of desire, shame, love, and separation literally turned laughter to tears on a dime.
“Johnny Blazes finished with a striptease sans lust, performed during a moving rendition of “Maybe This Time.” Undressed, the body onstage, its incredible vocal chords shaking the air, suddenly wasn’t sexual—it was human, imperfect, and striking.”
~ Allison Vanouse, HowlRound
“When Ugmo says, “If two men fall in love, they should say so,’’ does he believe it? By the end of this absorbing and touching play, the answer to that question, at least, is clear.”
~ Don Aucoin, The Boston Globe
“In Ugmo and Eenie, one character stated, ‘Every man has his right to his own solo show,’ which I felt summed up the night well. Everyone deserves expression and understanding. Everyone should be granted the ability to say what they want to say and be who they want to be. This festival is a step in that direction.”
— Alex Lonati, BroadwayWorld.com
“[Ugmo and Eenie] has so many layers that I’ll be unpacking it for some time, but at its heart lays a message about labels, acceptability, and the spaces we make for ourselves in which we are allowed to be who we truly are.”
~ Danielle Rosvally, New England Theatre Geek
The second weekend started off with Beth Nixon’s Lava Fossil, a solo suitcase performance including a dinosaur head, an exploding volcano, and instructions on how to measure grief with a ruler. Nixon’s performance, revolving around the sudden death of her oceanographer father, employed homemade set pieces and childlike imagery to juxtapose father/daughter magical moments of scientific learning with the evolutionary process and personal grief.
“[Nixon] keeps you riveted for a full hour with her raw charm, unpolished delivery, and natural comic timing. She also delivers a insightful synthesis of the personal and the philosophical, disguising a keenly intelligent essay as a form of child’s play that’s been gussied up with Rube Goldberg-esque props.”
~ Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston
Adara Meyers’ play, Talk To At Me, shares the quirky veneer of Nixon’s piece, while exploiting the absurd hysteria of 21st century American self-absorption to offer a serious warning about the end result of late Capitalism. Characters talk above, below, and past each other without even realizing that human connection has been supplanted by an ever-increasing need to acquire.
“’Talk to at Me‘” is a tour de force that combines a fearless quartet of actors with Shana Gozansky’s precise, disciplined direction — balancing several different things happening at once — with Meyers’s zany, satirical script.”
~ Terry Byrne, The Boston Globe