Media Update 8/1/19

Support Group for Men

When I saw this title, the ridiculous concept of Men’s Rights groups flashed into my head but I knew that a festival like this would not do something like that (unless maybe it was satire). Instead, this is about a group of guys who meet regularly to talk about their problems and their thoughts. They are comfortable with each other and things can get a bit deep and they try to be there to support each other. An unexpected visitor interrupts the meeting and changes it, sending all of the guys in different trajectories. The play examines masculinity, how we treat others, and how we treat each ourselves. The show was so good about putting a lot of positive messages about there about old school machismo, homophobia, gender identity, dating, age, mental health, and so many other issues men are presented with. Some of those topics are things that most men try to ignore but must be confronted with. The show deals with a lot of these deep moments with lots of healing humor. Which is to say that the show definitely takes important topics seriously but keeps things light and sweet to make the medicine go down. I definitely recommend it if you can find it.

Antonio’s Song/ I Was Dreaming of a Son

This was the one-person show of this year’s festival which is always interesting. A one-person show is often like listening to an audiobook. One person plays all sorts of different characters and must act out the whole show by themselves. This is a risky kind of play to write and perform because when it does not work, there is no way to get it back. It helps that this play was at least partly autobiographical. The actor, Antonio Edwards Suarez, was also one of the playwrights. He tells the story of his life from growing up in Brooklyn. He is the child of a Black man and a Latinx woman. He is stuck between two worlds but is also stuck in a world of gang violence brought on by toxic masculinity. The show is ostensibly about being caught in and trying to break out of a generational cycle of violence and anger. It is also about how creativity and the arts can help kids find who they are and who they want to be. It approaches defying traditional gender roles, cultural classifications, and trying to rise above where we should be. It is a really touching piece full of hope. Parts of it made me feel uncomfortable but that was obviously its intention. I also recommend it if you can find it.

Chester Bailey

I do not want to play favorites in this festival but I really, really liked this one and not only because I was able to meet and talk with its stars, Reed and Ephraim Birney. The show reminded me a bit of shows like Equus except that it was way lighter and smarter. The show follows a psychologist dealing with his patient in a mental hospital after a horrible accident. This all takes place during World War II when young men who were not overseas were embarrassed. Ephraim plays the patient, a young New Yorker who was struggling to find himself when one of the worst things ever happens to him. Reed Birney plays a snarky but highly insightful doctor who is dealing with his own personal problems when one of the most difficult cases of his career lands in his lap. The play has a lot of twists and turns and presents a lot of intriguing psychological problems. It does not dwell too long in tragedy but definitely has a dark edge. The show is told mostly in dueling monologues, sounding like journal entries from the characters told directly to the audience. The few scenes between the actors are charged with energy and definitely help drive the play forward. In this way, the show is kind of like two one-man shows that repeatedly collide. I definitely recommend it if you can find it.


Music of the Week:
Ashnikko – Hi, It’s Me

Dirty Heads ft. Rome of Sublime – Lay Me Down

Ferals – Gone

2 Chainz – Stay Woke Freestyle

Alice Chater – Hourglass


Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “CATF 2019 Pt. 2”
– I finished Game of Thrones Season 3
– I finished Slasher Season 1
– I finished Losers Season 1
– I watched more How to Get Away With Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 3
– I watched more Supernatural Season 14
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more Stargate: Atlantis Season 1
– I watched more Defunctland and Yesterworld
– I started Wynonna Earp Season 3

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