by Michael Meigs
Adriana Montenegro and friends have a good time presenting The Green Bird at the Cathedral of Junk at 4422 Lareina Street in South Austin. If you like many others in Austin haven't visited Vince Hanneman's towering backyard construction of strangeness, this free show for Thursday through Saturday evenings would be an apt occasion to repair your shortcoming in Austin lore.
Artist/proprietor Hanneman has hosted theatre events before, including notably the annual theatrical comedy by the Weird Sisters Theatre Collective two years ago. He had agreed to provide the venue for Kyle John Schmidt's Fernando and the Killer Queen in April last year but City of Austin engineers served notice that the place required reinforcement to make it safe for the public. (If you visit, you'll understand that "repairs" wouldn't be the appropriate term for Hanneman's wildly eleclectic three-story assemblage of everything from bicycle frames to gnomes to CDs to miscellaneous tchotchkes). So get there with enough time before the 7 p.m. start to wander around and to absorb his only slightly deranged vision of post-industrial America.
You may wander past the actors in costume and you may get a jolt of surprise in the maze of construction and garden. Two eerie figures will be sitting motionless in separate spots: a grey-tinted female figure with a snipped-off funnel nose and alarmingly alert brown eyes, and a young woman swathed and grease-painted in stark white. Those are Laura Burgess playing Calmon the intermittently oracular statue and Ashley McNerney as the garden statue Pompea with whom the young gallant will fall in love. Their silent presence in the Cathedral and park pose for you the challenge of all silent, motionless mimes: do you pretend that they are indeed inanimate and therefore ignore them? Or do you acknowledge them, inspect them, perhaps speak to them? No one I saw became so bold.