Friday, January 3, 2014

Wayne Alan Brenner's Favorites in 2013, Austin Chronicle

Brenner's portmanteau of 13 items includes 6 from locally produced Austin theatre:

Austin Chronicle


Top 10 Creative Things I Lucked Into in 2013

Remembering the year thick with superlative works of art onstage and in galleries

By Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Jan. 3, 2014

There Is A Happiness That Morning Is Mickle Maher Capital T Theatre
Katherine Catmull (photo: Capital T Theatre)
1) Joked with my editor that the first nine slots of this list would repeat 'THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS' (Capital T Theatre). That brilliant Mickle Maher comedy, about the consequences of two William Blake-enamored professors engaging in glorious copulation on the campus lawn in view of their students, was by far the best thing I experienced in a year thick with superlative works of art. Directed by Mark Pickell, the script was embodied by three actors – Jason Phelps, Katherine Catmull, and Ken Webster, already among the best in town – working at the height of their knock-you-over abilities.
. . . .

4) FRONTERAFEST is another multipartite perennial that keeps on giving, and one of the best Short Fringe things it gave was Kyle John Schmidt's "The Blissful Orphans," featuring Curtis Luciani, Bob Jones, and friends in a fractured fairy tale that surpassed anything Rocky & Bullwinkle ever attempted.
. . .

6) Using Jason Liebrecht as a hinge to open a door between two theatre productions: Martin McDonagh's 'THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE' (Capital T Theatre), brought to Grand Guignol life with Liebrecht chewing the scenery as an Irish terrorist who's out to slaughter whoever killed his beloved pet cat Wee Thomas; and 'FIXING KING JOHN' (Rude Mechanicals), Kirk Lynn's Deadwood-esque upgrade of Shakespeare, in which that same Liebrecht played the brave, hotheaded, sometimes near-colicky, and relentlessly besieged monarch contending with a cast of (mostly doomed) characters equal to his fierce talents.

7) Speaking of stagework, can somebody raid a sports paradigm and confer MVP status on actor MOLLY KARRASCH? I mean, Jesus, Slowgirl, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Tragedy: a tragedy, Dulcey and Roxy at City Hall – the woman's got range and a half.

8) Steve Moore and 'ADAM SULTAN' (Physical Plant) gave the Austin theatre scene an intimate view of itself with this heartfelt hall of mirrors, casting community stalwart Adam Sultan in the title role as a man who spends the increasingly lonely decades of his life commemorating all his creative friends who die as the years go by.

9) 'THE HEAD' (Trouble Puppet Theatre) was the semi-autobiographical apotheosis of everything that Connor Hopkins' strange and splendid company has done before, with so many disparate parts effectively orchestrated to show how ineffectively orchestrated a human can be when desire confounds sense and recreational drugs complicate the situation we call being alive.

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