fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Mad Dash Saturday - Part 2: Kennedy Center Edinburgh Fringe

The other thing I had scheduled for last weekend was seeing a show called One Small Step at the Kennedy Center. This was part of their On the Fringe: Eye on Edinburgh program, which brought in several shows from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This particular show, produced by the Oxford Playhouse, involved two men (Robin Hemmings and Oliver Millingham) playing 40+ roles to tell the story of the space race, from Sputnik through the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. It was really geared to children and I suspect the optimum age for seeing it is on the order of 8-10.

Overall, the show was disappointing, The downscale props and costumes (e.g. a pillow rearranged to form the hat of a Russian scientist, an open file cabinet serving as the ladder from the lunar module to the surface) were imaginative enough, though I'm not sure if a generation reared on special effects appreciated them. The pacing was somewhat too frenetic for my tastes. Perhaps that works well with the children, but I found it distracting. More of an issue was that I not only didn't learn anything from the show, but I didn't feel much magic. By contrast, at Edinburgh Fringe in 1998, I had seen a 20 minute reenactment of the lunar landing done by two actors using just their hands which I found thoroughly enthralling.

While at the Kennedy Center, I took advantage of the opportunity to see a Fringe exhibit, Of All the People In All the World. This involved 300 million grains of rice, i.e. one grain for each person in the U.S., subdivided into piles to represent various population statistics. Some of it is political, so there are large piles that have to do with people killed in various conflicts or with statistics about hunger. But there are also more whimsical groupings. One area had things about astronauts, including the number of people who had walked on the moon. Next to that was a single grain of rice labeled "Michael Jackson." An even funnier use of a single grain was the one for "Condoleeza Rice." All in all, I found this to be a fascinating exhibit and recommend you check out the rice show if you get a chance. I also plan to look for other productions by Stan's Cafe, the group of artists who were responsible for this.
Tags: art, theatre

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