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Becca reviews 'Big Knockers,' 'The Lanthan Mire,' 'The Space Between,' and 'Creditors'

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If you're in the mood for some silly, bawdy humor and enjoy participating in a good puzzle, check out the final performance of the delightful "Big Knockers: Debunking the Fox Sisters" next Saturday at Abilene. Produced by Stone's Throw (the people behind "Dashboard Dramas," "The Oboe Show," and "Hot Tub: The Musical"), the show is set in the 1800's and riffs on the famous family of psychic mediums. It is rife with references to local history.

The premise: three paranormal skeptics challenge the Fox Sisters' legitimacy and decide that the audience will assist them in exposing them as frauds. This highly interactive show is smart and lighthearted, with the players constantly exchanging snarky barbs and slipping wink-and-a-nudge innuendo-asides to the audience.

The doubters split the audience into three groups, who then travel to different stations upstairs, downstairs, and on the back patio, visiting each of the sisters as they attempt to channel spirits, flirt with demons, and convince us that they're authentic. Along the way they cheekily emphasize certain clues, which the teams have to work to decode in order to unlock the final "proof" of the sisters' credibility.

Being a bar inside an old house, Abilene makes for the perfect venue for this show — various nooks were easily transformed into an imagined parlor or garden. The show is total goofball humor in the best way, and was a great temporary escape from the world as it is now.

Big Knockers: Debunking the Fox Sisters” will be performed again on Saturday, September 23, 1 p.m., at TheatreROCS Stage at Abilene. $10. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.


Next on my list was "The Lanthan Mire," also at Abilene,  so I stayed put, grabbed a beer, and chatted with bar owner Danny Deutsch while the one-man show finished setting up upstairs.

Named for its (anti?)hero, Lanthan Mire — a lost, extra-dimensional being who is forced to immerse in planets in turmoil — the multimedia storytelling, staged by Liminal Press, blends raving spoken word narration; sludgy-yet-poetic live guitar that at times brought Tool to mind; and trippy, hyper-engaging digital projections. Based on the novella series by Lucian Harke, it's a philosophical sci-fi ramble that rails against selfishness and greed while wallowing in all of the existential insecurities that result in selfishness and greed.

Lanthan Mire wrestles with human impulses as well as the duties imposed on him, while the script subtly alludes to a strong Buddhist message: desire leads to longing, and longing leads to despair. So do we deny desire, and shirk the pursuit of sensation? Yeah, good luck with that.

The Lanthan Mire” will be performed again on Tuesday, September 19, 6 p.m., at TheatreROCS Stage at Abilene. $10. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.


"The Space Between," a collaboration between 10 members of Rochester's dance community, led a crowd of dozens from the Spiegelgarden down Main Street as they artfully used bits of architecture and public art in their journey. The crowd followed these Pied Pipers of dance, all clad in blue, as they moved in slow motion, changing our ideas about the use of public space as they went.

Two of my favorite parts: The spectacle of seeing several dancers limply double over the railing of the YMCA and rest there, like drying laundry, to the befuddlement of drivers on Main; and when a few dancers appeared on one level of the East End parking garage, making synchronized movements over the barrier, while another called out operatic notes like a siren from the top level, her arms epically spread wide to the crowd below.

The Space Between” will not be performed again during this Fringe.


I wrapped my evening at MuCCC with Kingfisher Theater's "Creditors," an anxiety-inducing drama about relationship train wrecks. Written by August Strindberg and directed by Jess Meyer-Crosby, the show sees artist Ada, her wife Tekla, and Tekla's ex-husband, Gustav, engaging in many flirtatious,  jealous, worshipful, needy, and devastatingly brutal conversations as they navigate insecurities and revenge.

The title of the show alludes to the tendency some people have to try to mold and shape their significant other into the person they want or need them to be — only to call in the credit for who the person has become and claiming sole responsibility for the growth. The I-Made-You-Who-You-Are type verses from The Human League's "Don't You Want Me" floated into my head at one point and then another during the performance.

Yet each character is smartly built dimensionally in that they are different people to each other: Ada's dynamic with Gustav is slightly different from her dynamic with Tekla, and Tekla's relationship with Gustav is echoed in her new one, but with a power shift. The complicated narrative, revealed through gutting, conflict-ridden dialogue, is a too-much, too-full picture of the normalized toxic possessiveness we have over each others' identities and wills.

Creditors” will not be performed again during this Fringe.


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