Gotta See 'Em All at YOLO Solo Festival
Andi Allen in her play Melva Tosti Attends Career Day about an aging opera diva, part of the YOLO Solo Festival
Since hashtags became a thing, the four-letter slogan "YOLO" has been attached to more than 16 million pictures on Instagram of bleary-eyed frat parties, foolhardy stunts and ill-advised trips to tattoo parlors. After all, you only live once. Over at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, this motto of recklessness is the theme for a brand new solo performance festival that opens tonight and runs through January 26.
Produced by Audacity Theatre Lab and curated by the our very own theater critic Elaine Liner, this weeklong festival features eight short plays performed in tandem with Andy Eninger's one-man show The Last Castrato. We've compiled a rundown of how the rest of your week looks, because now that you know about the festival you don't have an excuse not to be there. After all, YOLO.
Tuesday, 7 p.m. Ostinato You arrive at the theater out of curiosity, a few minutes early like the polite theatergoer that you are and you whip out the $15 ticket price. You look at the intern managing the box office and ask "Why isn't there a pass to see all eight shows?" They shrug you off and mutter, "Whatever. Yolo man." What'd you expect? You're talking to an intern.
The first show of the night is Ostinato, written and performed by Natalie Gaupp. It's a story about a life marked by uselessness. Gaupp uses macaroni and cheese as metaphor for life and weaves the story together by the poetry of Yeats. When Gaupp isn't mixing poetry with cheese, she is a playwright-in-residence at UT-Arlington and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. And if that's not impressive enough, she recently completed a doctoral degree in humanities at the UT-Dallas, focusing on studies in play-writing and performance theory.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. The Elephant in the Room Local playwright, director and designer Bruce R. Coleman's play The Elephant in the Room is about a middle school vice principal who uses the mantra, "What would Jane Fonda do?" to combat apathetic parents and bureaucracy. In the role of the feisty educator, he cast LisaAnne Haram.
Tuesday, 8 p.m. The Last Castrato Eninger'sThe Last Castrato stars local funny man and Observer mastermind Jeff Swearingen, as a talentless man born without a penis. You just can't go wrong with such a quirky premise and Swearingen's talent for comedy. If you attend every night of the festival, you're going to see his show quite a few times. Six, to be exact.
Nick Ware in She Always Picked Me by Kate Lowry
Wednesday, 7 p.m. She Always Picked Me You return to your week-long home in Fair Park. Maybe you drank too much at The Meridian Room the night before and slept on the steps of the Hall of State. There's no judgment here. You whip out $15 again. Worrying about money is anti-YOLO, so you settle into your seat to watch She Always Picked Me by Kate Lowry. It is the story of a young man trying to understand his female childhood bestie. You find yourself empathizing with the actor Nick Ware, because in the spirit of foolhardy decision-making you drunk dialed your childhood sweetheart last night. But that's not the point, dummy. Focus on the play.
Betty Milligan in Tyler's Mom by Ben Schroth
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Tyler's Mom Ben Schroth's play Tyler's Mom is about the struggle between a night owl son and an early bird mom. Betty Milligan plays the title character, hellbent on getting Tyler out of bed and finishing a load of laundry.
Wednesday, 8 p.m. The Last Castrato. Swearingen is back onstage and still missing something in The Last Castrato.
Thursday, 7 p.m. I Brought Home a Chupacabra. This is the halfway point on your quest to see all eight shows. The evening starts with playwright and comedian Brad McEntire's latest antics in I Brought Home a Chupacabra. This romp stars Lauren Moore as a young woman, who tries to explain a complicated situation about an ex-boyfriend and the legendary South Texas goat-monster.
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Melva Tosti Attends Career Day, Melva Tosti Attends Career Day, is written by and starring Andi Allen, in which she plays an eccentric Italian opera diva known as La Diva Formaggio who visits school students on career day.
Thursday, 8 p.m. The Last Castrato. The Last Castrato. How many more times will you sit through Swearingen talk about not having a penis?
Friday, 7 p.m. Allergic Me, Your final day of the festival is here. You're feeling pretty proud of yourself. You're good at this. Someone should pay you to attend festivals. The night starts with the ridiculously talented 13-year-old Kennedy Waterman's Allergic Me, which is her comedic take on living with a very serious peanut allergy.
Friday, 7:30 p.m. I Brought Home a Chupacabra. It's not deja vu, you really did see this show last night. You duck out for a snack at Pizza Lounge.
Friday, 9 p.m. Bouncing Ugly You get back just as the applause dies down for The Last Castrato. You're a little bit offended when the front of house staff doesn't recognize you, but you show your ticket stub anyway. Danny O'Connor's play Bouncing Ugly is a series of tales about working as a bouncer in New York City. Then, just like that, you realize you've seen 'em all. You stumble out of the Margo Jones Theatre and walk along the outside of the Chinese Lantern Festival.
Then it hits you. There are two more days left of the festival, you can see them all again. Full schedule here.
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