Arts » Theater + Dance

Reviews: Diva Fest at IndyFringe

What to see at Diva Fest

by

comment
An actor from Batshit at Diva Fest - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • An actor from Batshit at Diva Fest


The opening weekend of IndyFringe’s DivaFest 2017 was packed with passionate artists producing works that challenge audiences to evaluate their points of view. The festival showcases only female identifying playwrights.

Batshit was written by Brooke Eden, directed by Miranda Swan and performed by Brooke Eden.

What is good: Twenty-year-old Eden has both good and bad luck. She suffers from panic disorder and depression. But karma picked up the bill by allowing her to come to terms with her issues now instead of 15 or 20 years later, after they did irreparable damage to her life.

In her one-woman show, Eden confesses to her own “batshit” craziness and to just how low she got before seeking help in college. She tackles the incredibly personal monologue with often self-deprecating humor, reveling in the convoluted events of her life that brought her to this point. Some stories are comical and some are sad, and she can turn a smart phrase. She’s genuine and relatable, and infinitely brave for sharing her story.

What needs work: The performance’s timelines and subjects sometimes feel disjointed. It’s a little rough, but I am betting it’s a work in progress. Also, moving the stool around the stage is distracting and unnecessary. I’d love to see some media added, such as music and photos that pertain to the topics.

Next showing: March 18, 9 p.m.

Banza Townsend and Brittany Taylor in On the Pole. - PHOTO BY APOS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo by APOS Photography
  • Banza Townsend and Brittany Taylor in On the Pole.

On the Pole is written and produced by Nicole Kearney, directed by Dena Toler and performed by Banza Townsend, Andrea P. Wilson, Chandra Lynch, Brittany Taylor, and Jamaal McCray.


What is good: On the Pole examines the circumstances and repercussions for four women who work in a strip club. Each one represents a different perspective: the housemother, who has been in the industry practically her whole life; the teen-age newbie, who sees this as a welcome opportunity to get off the streets; the proud career dancer; and the short-timer, who is saving for college. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes of rarely told stories. The catty comments are set to high, and each actress effectively embodies her character’s temperament. But Wilson as Mimi is the most eye-catching; she drips sexuality the entire 60 minutes of the production. Well-curated props add vibrancy to the black-box stage.

What needs work: The characters are depicted with a wide brush, but it’s hard to write effective character development into a short. The ending was a little abrupt; a more resolute conclusion would be satisfying.

Next showing:
March 17, p.m.

Not Dead Yet - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • Not Dead Yet

Not Yet Dead is written by Jan White, directed by Ann Marie Elliott and performed by Beverly Roche, Bridget Schlebecker, Nick Barnes, Shannon Samson, Jim Lucas, Craig Rubel, and David Molloy.

What is good: A gaggle of friends tries to convince a former movie star to take on new opportunities — and new technology, which causes havoc. White’s message — not letting yourself get complacent in your senior years — transcends all age groups. No matter how old you are, your story is not over.

The banter between Roche as Dana and Schlebecker as her best friend Lana is so natural that it’s beautiful, and the actresses convey the ease and comfort of beloved friends. Their words and interaction reflect the love and companionship that sustained their relationship for decades. Plus, lots of funny lines keep the audience laughing.

What needs work: The show has drinking-game potential. Every time the title is used, take a shot. The script is rough around the edges, and the scenes end abruptly. Some of the characters are superfluous, such as the obligatory gay friend and the man next door. (His sister doesn’t have a major role in propelling the plot either, but she is funny. And he does get one of the best jokes in the show, explaining that it’s the Vagina Monologues, not monocles. It’s not eyewear for your vagina.)

Next showing: March 19, 7:30 p.m.

Two additional shows will open this weekend.

HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, written by Heather Massie, explores the film star who also invented frequency hopping and spread spectrum technology, which make the world of wireless communication tick.
March 17, 7:30 p.m.
March 18, 4:30 p.m.
March 19, 6 p.m.

The Pink Hulk, written by Valerie David and directed by Padraic Lill, is about Valerie’s battle with breast cancer. Afraid she might lose “the girls,” Valerie decides to takes them out for one last hurrah. The true story follows the triumphant journey of one woman seeking her own “hulk-like” strength to find her superhero within.
March 17, 6 p.m.
March 18, 6 p.m.
March 19, 4:30 p.m.


Comments

This Week's Flyers

Around the Web