We had the good fortune of being in Toronto during the Toronto Fringe Festival. Several shows piqued my interest. The horror fan in me was tempted to Ask Lovecraft for advice. The comedy lover wanted to find out what would happen when/if Margaret Flatwood ever showed up.
Instead, we opted for What Mama Said About Down There and Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie.
What Mama Said About Down There is a one woman show performed by Sia Amma about what mothers tell their daughters about that mysterious place guarded by strong, unyielding granny panties (if you are a good girl).
From a Jewish woman recounting her hygiene journey (t’is funny) to a young African girl eager to go through a community ritual to become a woman (t’is dramatic), Sia Amma plays a wide range of characters and transformed into them easily with only a chair, a scarf and her fabulous dress for props.
In addition to being a playwright and a singer, Sia Amma is the CEO of Global Women Intact, “a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to eliminating female circumcision and genital mutilation customs in Africa through education.” She uses her performances (solo and with The Voice of Africa) to raise money for GWI.
It was a great show.
And now, for something completely different…
Here’s the premise behind Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie – it’s 1968 and Andy Warhol is throwing a party in honor of his friend (protege? lover?) Valerie Solanas. When Andy offends her, the girly dress comes off, the combat boots go on and the party really gets started.
What was unique about this performance was that there was no stage–audience members are actually party guest and intermingle freely with each other and the cast. There was a snack table (Doritos for everyone!) and we played a variety of party games while waiting for the woman of the hour to arrive. At one point, Andy gave me a kiss (of the Hershey’s variety).
When an angry Valerie launched into her SCUM Manifesto, a few men got their feather’s ruffled…eh, whatever. History repeated itself–Valerie shot Andy. This time around, I was on hand to take a picture:
Fail Better Theatre will bring Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie to other festivals. I hope a performance in the US is on the horizon.
It turns out that I can still Ask Lovecraft a question or browse through those he’s already answered on Youtube. On this channel, the “celebrated and dead author HP Lovecraft offers his advice on such diverse topics as love, finance, cooking, and personal hygiene.” He’s been asked about everything from Miskatonic University to the Wu-Tang Clan.
Here’s HP’s advice for handling criticism: