The View From Here #155: CA, TX, TN, SC, IL, NJ, MA, ME, NY, MN, FL
|Photos by Tisse Mallon; Compilation by Marcus Fernando|
|Tim with Jayne Day|
|Balancing the Exit Sign|
“I just saw Tim Mooney’s amazing tour de force show, Lot O’ Shakespeare. He was brilliant, a must-see for this year’s Rogue!” (Jennifer Hurd Peterson (of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival))
Brilliant show! Brilliant performance! We plan to go again and bring friends!! (Janette)
Saw show last night- FABULOUS! Timothy not only delivers a profoundly articulate selection of Shakespeare’s best but provides a context and the an interpretation through his performance that throws you into the scene in a flash. Brilliant and entertaining even if you are not a Shakespeare fan! (Laurie Tidyman-Jones)
Amazingly fun and brilliant! Very entertaining and interactive. Love Shakespeare and he brings all the good quotes from so many stories! Shame he didn’t have time for them all, we had a blast! (RRogers31)
gosh, I feel awful saying I found his show to be kinda blase. His command of the language is terrific, but his acting skills and voice are mid-range and kinda off-putting. But he does really ‘get’ the language and makes all the right puns and double entendres work. I give this show a 6 on a 1-10 scale. (Guest)
I was amazed at Tim’s performance of Shakespeare. Tim’s acting, command of the tongue, and his instant recall to perform any and all of Shakespeare’s work at any given time, had me in awe. (Annette Ash)
One of the best this year. What energy! (Jessica Reedy)
There's a 'Lot o' Shakespeare' crammed into the crevasses of Timothy Mooney's brain. The wonderful part of his novel show is just how fun it is for the audience to take a guided tour.
Mooney has memorized one monologue from every Shakespeare play plus a bunch of sonnets, and he can spill them out on command. The Bard was a showman, and Mooney is, too, devising an ingenious structure for his one-man production: He sets it up as a bingo game -- each audience member gets an "Iago" card -- and he uses a bingo cage, filled with 44 ping-pong balls, to pick a monologue or sonnet at random. (Mooney wrote an article about his process for the local online publication kingsriverlife.com.)
Mooney, in period attire and jester hat, bounds onto the stage with an explosive energy that never lets up. He delivered almost 20 monologues and sonnets in the performance I saw -- no two are the same, obviously -- and it was fascinating to watch him slip in and out of character so briskly and thoroughly. From the stirring battlefield speech in "Henry V" to the sex-runneth-over monologue ("Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese") by Parolles in "All's Well That Ends Well," the text and nuance was impeccable.
The Saturday afternoon show I attended also produced what's sure to be one of my favorite moments of this year's Rogue. When Mooney picked "Measure for Measure," he asked for a volunteer from the audience as a scene partner, and he picked local thespian Brooke Aiello. When she got on stage, he asked her name and if there was a show she wanted to plug.
|Brooke Aiello volunteers...|
"Yes," she said. " 'Hamlet,' opening April 13."
"Who are you playing?" he asked.
"Hamlet," she replied. Big laugh. (It's true. Aiello stars in the title role in the New Ensemble production at the Broken Leg Stage.)
Mooney and Aiello (reading cold!) then proceeded to offer a steamy version of the "Measure for Measure" scene, with Aiello playing up her character's sensuality to the hilt -- so much so that it put Mooney at a temporary loss for words. (He had to grab the script from Aiello to prompt his next line.) They ended in a close, torrid stance. It was a great moment.
Some shows at the Rogue get lots of buzz, and this is definitely one of them. But since Mooney is only here for the first weekend, there isn't much time left to see him. He has just two more performances. My advice: Get thee to the Starline.
When a slightly built Tim Mooney comes out in Elizabethan puffy pants and a jester’s cap and bells, the audience has no real idea of what they’re in for. There is no way they can anticipate the whirlwind of emotion, voice, language and sweat that Mooney can deliver inside of one hour with Shakespeare. His Bingo-Game-o’-the-Bard is one of the simplest, but most effective Shakespeare themed shows I’ve seen.
His bingo game is actually a game of “Iago” where the audience plays along on cards marking off each monologue as it is randomly called from the bingo balls he draws. And yes, he even gives prizes for winners (always a way to win over audiences!). But truthfully, the prizes are just the cherry on this sundae of Shakespearean proportions.
|But wait! There's more!|
Mooney is obviously an accomplished actor. His expansiveness of language, use of structure, and sideways entries to the language of Shakespeare’s characters makes his monologues so clear and precise, after just an hour the audience finds they understand all of that Early Modern English like they’re listening to a Shel Silverstein poem.
The energy and verve Mooney brings to Shakespeare’s language obviously stems from a love of his craft and it is completely infectious to the audience. There’s something here for everyone: Shakespeare enthusiasts will love the variety and vivacity he brings to this muscular language; Shakespeare novices may discover that there is far more alive than dead about Shakespeare’s characters, right here at the Rogue Festival.
|Charleston Volunteer scene with "Mary Grace"|
|Thompson Lake at SIU|
|April & Amber in Giant City|
|Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park|
|Central Lakes College Poster|
|Moliere arrives in Florida|
|Park in Orlando|
|Book-signing at the Here Be Dragons Bookshoppe|
“These were, of course, fictionalized versions of actual speeches, but there was something about the life-and-death stakes of the speech, the intense commitment of the speaker, and the rhetorical heights into which the speaker would spiral, using irony and hyperbole to tease and toy the attention of the audience, ripping them out of their passive indifference and whipping them into a state of fury and frenzy, grasping the shared goal that stood before them all, understanding its contextual significance and launching them into bold and decisive action.” (Applause.)
|Death of Socrates|
“Thank you so much for your amazing performance. I’ve never been interested in speeches or memorization before, but watching you has made me want to read more speeches and learn more about the people who gave them.” (J.O.)
“Thank you for paying so much homage to language and to our history. Come to Valencia College and inspire our students…” (Tess Nater)
“This show moved me and you expressed such beautifuly said words by the original speaker, so well said by you.” (Anon)
“Amazing! It could be longer!” (Syreena)
“Fantastic! I would encourage you to continue promoting the great orators.” (Rob Orwiler)
Longtime Fringe performer Timothy Mooney took an unusual approach to the Orlando Fringe Festival this year. Under the umbrella title "The Compleat Repertory," he presented one performance each of his various shows from prior Fringes in his time slots.
Sunday night, though, he debuted his latest show, titled The Greatest Speech of All Time. Mooney knows something about great writing: Previous shows have seen him reciting Shakespearean monologues and the writings of playwright Moliere.
In The Greatest Speech… Mooney mines the words of great historical figures from Socrates to Winston Churchill. In other words, his source material is strong.
In a shrewd move, Mooney mixes in surprise offerings with the speeches we've all heard before. I realized to my chagrin I had never heard Frederick Douglass’s powerful 1852 anti-slavery speech. Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" may be much more commonplace, but how does one do a show about great speeches without it?
Also smartly, Mooney doesn't try to mimic the famous speakers — rather you get a hint of the speech's tone and inflections, a tinge of Southern drawl for Martin Luther King's "I've been to the mountaintop" speech, or that vaguely patrician accent for Franklin Roosevelt's "fear itself" speech.
You can tell it's a new work — the projected backgrounds weren't always in sync with the speaking, and Mooney uncharacteristically stumbled a few times. Yet he was always brought back on track by the power of those great words. (Matthew Palm, Orlando Sentinel)
I had one quick pause to see Kirsten performing with the North Shore Chamber Music Festival. She performed the sign language interpretation to a violin/narrative interpretation of "Ferdinand the Bull," totally charming the audience, and leading me to dub her as "America's premiere sign language performer." After twenty years of raising her son (who is now off, studying in New York), Kirsten is ready to get back into performing in a big way. (The performance at the Chamber Music Festival has already won her invitations to perform in Spain and Croatia.)
|Tim, Isaac, Jim|
I currently estimate that the Festival appearance may lead to another half-dozen bookings in the coming year. Add this to the many bookings for the coming fall (about 11 confirmed, still two months out from the fall semester), and I should be doing pretty well in the coming year.
|Tim with Arni Adler of Uncle Bonsai|
|Waterfall in Acadia National Park|
|"My Shelf" at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library|
|Skye Mooney Graduates First in Class!|