While the fundraiser did, eventually pull in about $6,800, this did not quite bring us up to our goal of $7,500, and if you’d like to give that total a little nudge, please click on this link to help us out!
|The famous "Trish" of the Tampa Fringe production staff|
I’ve done three inaugural fringe festivals over the years, and have mostly sworn off of them. There are rookie discoveries that first-time festival organizers make along the way, and mostly they are playing to an audience who has no idea what a fringe festival is… (which means that I end up playing to the occasional audience of 3). This time, however, a couple of savvy fringe promoters, Will and Trish, friends and veterans of many festivals, had set up the festival as an “opening act” to the Orlando Fringe, which would follow on the subsequent weekend. Up until about 4 weeks prior, I wasn’t actually “in” for the Orlando Fringe, but with a last-minute drop-out, I was now on the schedule there, too, and would be able to do a kind-of one-two punch from one festival to the next.
|Photo by Tisse Mallon|
|With Lauren Anderson, first met at the |
NY Fringe back in 2003!
|Photo by Tisse Mallon (from the O-Fringe Preview)|
“If you think senators backstabbing their rivals is something recent, let Mooney reacquaint you with the Bard’s Roman tragedy of tyranny and rebellion, minus all the boring bits. Mooney is like the high school English teacher you always wished you had… with a wild-eyed energy usually only exhibited by amphetamine addicts, but he doesn’t condense this epic by rushing roughshod over its poetry. On the contrary, his elocuation is so well-enunciated that it illuminates the archaic language for the modern ear, elucidating familiar but frequently misunderstood phrases like “Brutus was an honorable man” and “We must take the current when it serves.” Best of all are Mooney’s snarky asides, fourth-wall-shattering footnotes that poke fun at the play’s oddities, such as Caesar’s irritating habit of referring to himself in the third person, and that infamously anachronistic chiming clock. Even if you usually fall asleep during sword-and-sandal sagas, lend Mooney your ears for this hour of electrifying edutainment.” (Seth Kubersky)
“Fasten your seat belts, Fringe-goers, Tim Mooney is back with another Shakespearean classic performed at breakneck speeds… 60 cardiovascular minutes that leave Mooney sweating, and his audience shouting “Huzzah!” Mooney is obviously well versed in all things Shakespeare, and his depth of knowledge makes him the perfect guide for this Elizabethan journey, which is enjoyable for “literary-dorks” and “Shakespeare-virgins” alike. His play on words and inflections offers a fresh perspective to a well-known story, and new interpretations take shape as we “friends, Romans, [and] countrymen” look on… Mooney is like mixing your Shakespearean Sparknotes with a triple shot of espresso. (Lania Berger, Orlando Sentinel)
|Photo by Tisse Mallon|
That same Orlando Fringe Tech performance was attended by my favorite photographer, Tisse Mallon, who captured more fun pics of the show in action.
The downside to this year's Orlando Fringe was that since the show was a late addition to the fringe, it didn't appear in the printed program, which makes it hard to bring in an audience who hasn't circled the show as they review the day's line-up of shows that they want to catch.
I had another week in town, with three performances planned for Winnie Wenglewick's new theatre in Sanford, Florida. She's just finished building out a terrific new space with two theatres that will ultimately be able to operate simultaneously for audiences of some 50-65 people. We draped her current set in black and threw a white sheet over it for the "Caesar slide show. There was some nice coverage in the local Sanford paper and a "festival holdover" article in the Orlando Sentinel. I did three performances there to audiences that started out tiny, but grew on subsequent nights.
I headed back to Chicago, stopping in Chattanooga to celebrate Paul Steurmer's surprise 60th birthday party. (The surprise was: we held it on his 59 1/2 birthday!)
And I dove, once again, into a massive e-mail campaign. Yes! I had just recently FINISHED a massive email campaign. But with the new NFP standing, I've lowered my prices and need to make up the difference in Volume-Volume-Volume! So far, so good: I've booked about 17 shows for the fall so far!
|Photos by April Peterson; Compilation by Marcus Fernando|
|Early morning departure for Lincoln Nebraska|
|With Phil Margo, one of the original "Tokens"!|
|Isaac and I at the train station (of course...)|
|Most of the Mooneys|
First stop: St. Louis, where the American Association of Teachers of French was holding their annual conference. I hadn’t been back to this conference for at least three years, but they remembered me well. I had a booth in the exhibit hall where they would drop by to visit, and occasionally sign in. I collected about a dozen email addresses from sign ups, and later the association sent me along the list of some 400 attendees, so I had my hands full with mailings for a while.
|Apparently my name and Moliere's |
have become interchangeable
as far as AATF is concerned.
|KC Fringe Preview Flyering|
|My new business cards catch up with me in Kansas City!|
...the charismatic and talented Tim Mooney, whose breathless one-person-one-hour tour through the Shakespeare play is yet another outstanding production by this Fringe Festival performer who has built a genuine following in KC. Mooney alone stages this condensed Caesar run-through – he says he has “sliced this play up… to see more of the forest by removing some of those obstructive trees” – which highlights the major characters, plot points, and important speeches and delivers a side of commentary and historical context... The Shakespeare tragedy has never been so much fun and simultaneously instructive. It's a fringe go-to... (Deborah Hirsch, the Pitch)
The first night of the Fringe late-night beer tent found a smattering of a dozen or so of us huddled under the tent as an approaching storm lit up the sky. As it came closer, the winds picked up and a serious downpour commenced. All of a sudden, the electricity in the tent went out and it threatened to blow away. All 10-12 of us grabbed onto one of the tent poles, literally holding it down (occasionally lifting off of the ground) as the rain poured.
|With Anne Marie Kaufmann and Michael Shaeffer|
Terrific reviews continued to show up through the course of the festival, with this one showing up on the Fringe Festival site from a staff reviewer:
“...I never ceased to be impressed and delighted by Mooney’s virtuosic performance… an enjoyable, holistic, theatrical experience for the audience. From welcoming each audience member at the entrance (with stickers!) to explaining the anachronistic conventions by which the audience will participate and speak their lines as the character, “Citizens,” Mooney sets the entire space – not just the stage – for his production. What’s left is for the audience to hold on to their seats and resist blinking for the next 60 minutes as Mooney solo-performs his way through over 20 characters, several oratory speeches, a couple death scenes and two nifty on-stage costume transitions. Regardless of whether you are a Shakespeare fan or not, this is a must-see – a theatrical treat, really – for KC Fringe-Goers.” (Hephzibah Dutt, KC Fringe Reviewer)
FIVE STARS: Timing is perfect for the Shakespeare tragedy of an over-reaching emperor of the Roman Empire as told by the Bard of the Renaissance… This performance needs to be filmed and sold to school districts nationwide… This pared-down recitation strips away much of The Bard’s poetry but preserves enough to keep the action moving and the story interesting and compelling… Mooney races through the piece with accuracy and sweat. He’s well-prepared, focused, and magnificent in his performance. (Bob Evans, KC Applauds)
Remarkably cogent… always excellent… His preparation and rehearsal are obvious, seamless, and audience appreciated. (Alan Portner, Broadway World)
|Map by David C. Jensen|
|Closing night party with |
Somewhere in Utah
|The view from my Las Vegas hotel...|
|Severe case of "rainbow head" in Twin Falls|
|My new books!|
|Meeting up in Edmonton with the friend who |
introduced me to "Fringing," Beth Amsbary
“An excellent fit for the fringe… what makes Mooney’s adaptation of Julius Caesar so great [is that] he tells the brunt of the story within an hour, in a one man display of dramatic prowess… Mooney shows a great command of the original text… with real time commentary that criticizes the story’s details through a modern lens… Mooney helps the audience follow the action in intelligent ways too…His production also cast the audience as ancient Rome’s gallery to shout mob-like lines when they appear on screen [which] keeps the audience invested and helps cut through the period jargon, making for a Shakespeare production that’s well worth seeing.” (Kevin Pennyfeather, Vue)
“It’s all amazing stuff, and surprisingly unhurried given that Mooney has whacked Shakespeare’s three-hour historical play down to a brisk and brilliant 60 minutes… Mooney, who just might be the most affable performer at this year’s Fringe is a welcoming sort of guy. Before the show begins, he moves among his audience handing out Caesar stickers, trading quips, swapping a few jokes, and setting the tone for what’s to come… Mooney’s seamless editing of the Bard means that he’s kept all the good stuff… But this is not exactly Shakespeare-lite, played for laughs and little else. There is fun to be had here to be sure, but there’s also serious intent at work… Breakneck also manages to provide a fresh interpretation of Brutus, who is presented as a very stubborn, somewhat pompus ass. What if Antony’s final speech, the “here lies the noblest Roman of them all” number, was delivered with the same irony as his “lend me your ears” bit? What then? That changes the whole texture of the play methinks. Hey, I’m convinced. Huzzah!” (Marc Horton, 12thnight.ca)
Give Timothy Mooney credit for truth in advertising, it’s the whole play in 59 minutes and 50 seconds. Or more specifically it’s an exposition of the play with reference to the major speeches and dialogues. Now, I’m a Shakespeare fan, not a fan of pre-digested Shakespeare or one-person shows, but I’ve got to admit Mooney does a darned good job of contextualizing the action, speeches and dialogues (including providing maps and timelines for scene changes which escaped me completely when I watched this in Stratford Ontario). Also, Mooney was entirely consistent in using his toga folds to indicate which chatacter was speaking from moment to moment. All in all, an excellent production. (Gunnar Blodgett)
Just as I thought I'd written the last about the Edmonton Fringe, with one final performance just 90 minutes away, one last long-awaited review went up on the "Global News" site, with the reviewer giving the show four stars, and calling it "a feat of condensation and memorization... outstanding performance." (Todd James)
In the thick of griping about the review which arrived too late to do me any good, I went on in to the Fringe grounds to pass around some flyers for the final performance, and after hanging out there for about 30 minutes, I somehow flashed upon the fact that I'd left my billet with my laptop (used for my slide show) sitting back at the house.
I raced back to the house (an 18 minute drive), picked up the laptop and started to race back to the fringe when I realized that both of the remote controls that I use to actually make the slides go forward were still in the laptop case. I raced back once again, grabbed the remotes and got back to my venue at almost exactly the time that they were about to let the audience in. I hooked up the laptop, aimed the projector and threw my costume on, with just enough time to do my usual pre-show banter and start.
|The Alberta/Saskatchewan Border|
I generally, actually LIKE having a last-minute crisis to throw me into action. It keeps me from sweating the small stuff when I've got plenty of "big stuff" to concern myself with. But this time it felt like one too many crises. By the time the audience came in, I was feeling a bit bewildered and dizzy, and while it didn't affect my performance at first, I think I came off a bit brusque to my audience (like, when they didn't sit close to the stage as is my usual preference), and eventually I missed a cue to move the slides forward, which threw me off in the middle of Brutus big eulogy in Act III.
And, as "off" as I might have felt, at the end, the audience still came up and told me how very much they'd enjoyed the show.
Discoveries: “There always seems to be that existential moment in which I find myself questioning, just what is it all worth, anyway? Is this any good? Was spending the last year of my life, a misguided effort to put something together that doesn’t really hit home?” * “Hanging out to welcome the audience in spares me the nervousness of worrying about whether they’ll like me or the show. It also gets the audience into the spirit of my personality and playfulness, so that they’re more ready for the play by the time it launches.” * I like having just ONE last minute crisis just before a play gets underway. More than that and I get befuddled.
On Netflix: Shameless and The Defenders
|While the outline of Michigan is usually called "the Mitten"|
The outline of Manitoba looks like "a Mitten with the thumb
and fingers chopped off in some horrible threshing accident."
Temperatures: 50s-70s in Edmonton (or, as they call it 10-20s)