Die Capital! When lions reclaim the parade
In the final act of the six mini-episette play Die Capital!, when The stories in Die Capital! are meant to provoke questions: Are you lions reclaim the parade, writer and director Connor McLean doing something meaningful to you? throttles around the coffeehouse stage like a punk-rock Peter Pan But that’s not what I saw; I saw a group of characters roaring back, each in with a skinny-jean band of Lost Boys. their own way, at the absurdity of violence playing out in their lives.
Between the Marshall cabinet stacks, drums, guitars and earplugs — The minimal set used six large, black square boxes, which morphed handed out early with the playbill (thank you) — you can’t hear a damn from a bathroom stall to a kitchen table. A few flannel bedsheets tossed thing, and that’s when the common theme among the six disparate plays over a rope made for a makeshift backstage. goes off like a glitter bomb: You can’t outroar the lion. The lead in the first play, “Joseph of the Office,” played by Tal Fish, Die Capital! premiered at Glenwood Coffee & Books in early Febru- shows a range of reactions to a rampant shooter in the workplace, from ary for the Greensboro Fringe Festival. Six mini-plays in a multimedia logical to hysterical. Fish’s character evokes a cross between Eyore from performance, each story different from the next, each using a different Winnie the Pooh and Tyler, lead narrator in Fight Club. media of theater, such as modern dance, a narrated dance piece, sketch, “Waiting Games” was stunning, a standout dance performance, an art-house approach and live music with film. choreographed by Amy Harrill, a Weaver Academy graduate and UNCG No story was longer than an extended YouTube clip, about 10 minutes.
Topics swiped a lion’s paw at violence in the workplace, “growing student. Most memorable: A dancer climbs on another dancer’s back, piggyback style, and their bodies become a silhouette of a soldier creepup vegan” and a moving yet hilarious interpretive-dance-narrative on ing forward with gun. bisexuality, extending a comic middle finger to North Carolina’s pending Amendment One and proposed changes to the Marriage Act, making same-sex marriages illegal in this state.
Only two stories intersect plot-wise, and then it’s merely a wink. Each mini-play provokes laughter and a kind of helplessness that comes when you scream in a dream but can’t make a sound. Die Capital! is DIYtheater in Doc Martins and tattoos and it’s an exciting glimpse at what’s happening inside the city’s indie-theater scene.
It’s is the second production for the Greensboro-based theater company One Life Productions, which also premiered Balvous in 3D last year. Up next: One Life Productions plans to collaborate with Fly By Night, another community-based theater group, to produce a short film, as well as theater awareness events and flash-mob scenes to oppose Amendment One.
The protagonist of “James the Lion,” played by Pete Turner, reacts to the violence he sees done to animals by becoming a vegan, only to face bullying reactions by his peers and parents about the choice. So he becomes a serial killer.
The mod-art piece is told in a series of flashbacks with projected images from what looks like snippets from “Animal Planet.” James’ life flashes back and forth between a childhood dominated by parents focused on their careers, sexual lust and a sociopathic fear of appearing as if they care for their son.
The novelty of seeing different kinds of media in each act never wore off. The company’s personal mission statement — to work hard — showed.
I left feeling like somebody had said something I haven’t been able to McLean and Lauren Jeffries say they started the company last year to put express: frustration with a bad economy, the absurdity of the Marriage on meaningful plays and to put in the long hours and hard work it takes to Act in North Carolina, and, it all makes me want to scream — evcen pull off a professional production with a community-based approach (think though I know nobody can hear me. Max Fisher’s community pull in the film Rushmore, and you get the picture). Maybe I’ll go throw a few glitter bombs.