Author: saraclaverie

Rakan’s PHANTOM MAP is the fringe-iest show this year

SALT LAKE CITY — An extremely talented group of dancers and actors, called Rakan, are performing their debut show, Phantom Map, at the Fringe Festival. This performance included Japanese Butoh dance as well as a script that was intriguing and sinister. The company’s expertise in the Butoh dance style was immediately apparent, and each movement was accented by their opening costumes which consisted of long robes, three red, one white, and scary-looking black gloves which lengthened each finger by at least double to a point. One performer wore a mask, and the others had black eye coverings. With great...

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SALT LAKE CITY — Okay, theater goers. I am not sure what happened here but I was the only one at this performance of Molly Whirlwind and the Great Bear in the huge Westminster Courage Theater. Graciously, the cast performed masterfully for me, but I have to wonder if either ticket prices were too high (there have been several performances with less than 5 people attending) or people coming to the fringe are looking for more provocative content, because every show except the ones by Great Bear Folk Theatre have been full of that. I feel so bad for those who missed this last show of Molly Whirlwind and the Great Bear, because I laughed my asses off. Yes, since I was covering for the rest of the absent audience, I felt free to laugh more than one ass. Molly Whirlwind and the Great Bear, produced by The Great Bear Folk Theatre, was written and performed by Lori and Omar Hansen, and boy were they a great team. They played all sorts of different characters, shared more than one story and sang together in delicious harmony. They tell a story of a town being terrorized by a huge bear, who is apparently taller than the tall tale they’re telling, and multiple characters come to best the bear, only to be scared away. Finally, Molly Whirlwind enters the scene and tames the bear....

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BECOMING AN HONORARY CRONE is worth the sojourn

SALT LAKE CITY — Becoming an Honorary Crone was written and performed by Lori Prescott Hansen and is a collection of stories about a woman’s life growing further into adulthood. It was produced by The Great Bear Folk Theatre at the Salt Lake Fringe Festival.  Hansen begins by asking the audience, “Do you believe in fate?” and shares some history about the three fates from Greek mythology. She muses on what makes a woman valuable to herself and how can she lead girls younger than her into that strong future. The stage was set with a spinning wheel that she sat at during her fairy tale of the spinners, and to the side there was a small table with a mirror on top, which she referenced at the beginning, talking about really looking at herself in the mirror and accepting everything she saw. This show was full of storytelling and she references various fairy tales like “The Little Mermaid” and “Little Red Riding Hood” before starting into her own tale called “The Three Spinners.” It reminded me of “Rumpelstiltskin” with enough of a twist to make it new and enticing. This story ends with a beautiful moment between mother and daughter and further understanding from the girl about the value that is gained though aging. The first portion of her show was hard to follow at times, but once she...

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BALLAD OF A MEADOW is musically moving

SALT LAKE CITY — Ballad of a Meadow, written and performed as a one-man play by Omar J. Hansen and produced by the Great Bear Folk Theatre, is a deeply moving story of a man who was a part of the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah on September 11, 1857. It was a much different style of show than many of the other shows at the Fringe, which was a nice contrast. Hansen’s show was even more interesting with his original songs he played on the guitar. At the beginning, Hansen’s character confessed to ordering the Indians to kill the Arkansas pioneers who were massacred in Utah on their way to California. Then he went into a lot of history, most of which was applicable and interesting, though sometimes there were moments I didn’t quite see the connection to the main story, like why he talked about federal troops coming to Utah to do away with slavery and polygamy. I also thought his second song slowed down the story by repeating emotionless information about what he had just shared. On the other hand, there was a song near the end that did the opposite, where it really held onto the strong feelings he had just expressed and ingrained them more deeply through music, and was very effective. Hansen’s presentation was solid: he had great focus, spoke clearly and loudly, and shared...

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TRASH! is preachy, but important

SALT LAKE CITY — Trash! is a play performed at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival and written by Mark Macey. It shows the story of three garbage men in a futuristic setting who are struggling with their new jobs of assisting the government in genocide. One complains and decides death is a better option than being jobless. Then, with the assistance of a narrator, the story jumps to the two girls escaping and they find a dead girl that one of them used to be friends with. After they go offstage to bury her, the narrator reappears and berates the audience for not paying attention to what is happening. “There is a fire burning!” is his repeated cry. Director Alex Coltrin did a fine job of blocking and staging the show, and such movement changes were very engaging for me. The pacing at the beginning was much too slow, but thankfully the second half picked up. The stage was very interesting, with a unique look of lit closet light bulbs upside down on the floor lining the edges of the set. Boxed into this space were plenty of recyclables, with one large armchair and a ladder. The finishing touch was the cowboy narrator, played by Joshua Joules, who sat in the chair for a minute before starting the show. Joules was excellent at keeping the audience interested with his...

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