I’ve just gotten home from a wonderful show at the Minnesota Fringe Festival created by Bob Alberti. The show is Principia Discordia. I feel like something of a grandfather to this show for three reasons. The first is this:
The second reason is that I get to take some tiny fraction of the credit for this marvelous thing that didn’t actually involve me doing anything new.
Third, there are three other obvious grandparents, in this case: William Shakespeare for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edmond Rostand for Cyrano de Bergerac, and Oscar Wilde for The Importance of Being Earnest. This puts me in excellent company for very little actual work. Perhaps I should explain.
The play that Bob has put together is a beautiful little six character piece starring Eris, Goddess of Discord (Dawn Krosnowski),* Thalia, the Muse of Comedy (Lana Rosario), Ms. Black (Laura Cannata), Ms. Red (Susan Becker), Mr. White (Duck Washington), and Mr Gold (Bob Alberti). The run time is a bit under an hour, and they cover a lot of ground as they do scenes from Midsummer, Cyrano, and Earnest. The central idea is that Thalia is directing the scenes and Eris is balking her by randomizing the casting with the help of the audience so that no two night’s shows will have the same characters in the same parts.
This has a number of lovely effects and, as I mentioned above, means I get to play grandparent without having to have written any actual scenes or anything to do with the play at all. Really, the heavy lifting is done by anybody and everybody but me, starting with Bob and his players who did a splendid job. I just get to smile and be happy that other people are doing great work that puts me in the acknowledgements.
My focus coming into this was, of course, on Thalia, and even more on Eris. Anyone who has read the WebMage books knows that I have a huge soft spot for Eris.
So, Thalia first. Lana Rosario’s performance was absolutely delightful, a wonderful broad comedic take on the directorial thespian that reminded me in the best possible way of my own drama teacher and mentor Vaughn Koenig. Grand and melodramatic and hooray.
Eris, well, Eris was perfect. I will now picture Dawn Krosnowski when I think of her. She had the humor and the charisma and the absolute unholy glee nailed. There was a point in the show where she came around and sat in the seat behind mine with one hand resting on the rail—just in my peripheral vision. Knowing my Eris, the thought of having her behind me was really quite alarming, and she would know that, and know that I know that she would know and take delight in every bit of it, and it was all very very meta. I loved it and her performance, and, well pretty much everything.
The rest of the cast had to cover more ground as they played the major parts in the three scenes, so I don’t have as solid a reference for any of them, and that’s actually perfectly in keeping with the core of the play which is a full blown challenge to the idea of type casting of any kind, be it gender, size, shape, race, or some other factor. I think they did a beautiful job of it and said something that was not only entertaining, but also important, and that perhaps more than anything makes me proud to have had a tiny part in the genesis of this show.
I have to give Bob special props down here for the writing of the thing, especially with Thalia and Eris. He gave them lines that I could have written word for word, which is cool. He also gave them lines that I wish that I had written, which is absolutely awesome. Oh, and the ending was note perfect.
It’s really hard to express how wonderful and surreal seeing this show was for me. I feel like I just got to cross off a bucket list item I hadn’t even known I wanted. Simply knowing that I helped to inspire someone else in their own art makes me feel like I’ve done something very right in the world. That it was something so genuinely wonderful, well, that’s a gift beyond price.
If you get the chance, go see the show! It’s only playing through Saturday, and the quality of the show and the reviews that are going up at the fringe site suggests that you’ll want to move quickly.
*Kezia Germ will be taking the role of Eris for show five.