San Diego International Fringe Festival is in its 5th year. It's Kathleen Denny's 1st San Diego Fringe. I hope she comes back. Her show, "Nice Is Not What We Do" directed by Mark Kenward is fascinating.
Kevin Patterson has another hit series this year from local producer directors like K.L. Brisby and Gingerlily Lowe-(The Yellow Hell"), national performers: Kathleen Denny-"Nice Is Not What We Do", and international writers, performers, producers, directors like bi-national artist Melissa Cisneros-Mexico ("Juego De Las Microacciones") to Giorgia Mazzucato-Italy "(Lifegate").
Kathleen Denny knows how to plug a show. She is a gracious and engaging conversationalist. I was so excited about seeing the "Big Kitchen-A Counter Cultural Cabaret Take 2" that I had arrived a half hour early. Ms Denny and I started talking about theater, performances while waiting for opening night of the Big Kitchen musical.
Ms Denny and I chatted about life events and family dynamics, especially if raised back East in seasonal weather that is often more than daunting. Snow is a common natural phenomenon that we all share. And, if from a certain generation . . . so is the father who has a relationship that seems to divide siblings into alternate realities.
Mothers who smilingly went along with whatever her husband wanted because, well, that's what women usually did do not escape comedic commentary.It was generally a stand by your man era no matter what-ethnicity,class, religious beliefs, race. Today's generation's version is the ride or die female who are with their man through thick or thin, 24/7 no matter.
Pre-60s feminism, a woman figured that if her man survived the depression, learned how to provide for himself and her plus kids, gentleness and dialogue was a dream world reality for wished for in vain.
Denny gathers and releases essences of this complex dynamic that helped spawn so many reactive movements against an often unbudging patriarchy. Unless . . . .well for daughters who had sparring rights, it was a sometimes yielding, almost gentle, yet tough as nails over-protective duel dance. A favorite line about her caustic daughter/father interaction during a flashback scene captures who they are to each other, "It's what we do. It's back and forth, forth and back."
As stage lights dim, Ms. Denny opens her show by bursting onto the stage in full dialogue. It immediately feels for me as if we are in mid-conversation. Her considerable storytelling skills pulls an audience into her slightly tilting world. She is preparing to attend her father's funeral. A family member asks her to "wear something nice." She groans, "Nice? Nice is not what I do." These lines provide a clearer lens into her family dynamics and conflicted memories.
Mood setting musical excerpts and lighting changes lead into scene changes that move the performance smoothly along. Kathleen Denny uses immediately identifiable specific to character facial expressions, voice changes, body postures, gestures that cues her audience into who she is at the time she is speaking.
Her humor is definitely from "back East" as we transplanted East coasters who now live elsewhere say. At times, an audience might have several sections humor touches heart places no matter what region you are from; her show has something for everybody.
Although it's a comedy, her narrative covers spousal abuse, cancer, the fact that in a family of siblings, listen to each recount their childhoods and it seems as if they have all been born to a different family. All the siblings seem to agree that although they each loved him, their dad, a lawyer dedicated to his work and sailing, was one tough and difficult man to love.
Yet, Denny observes, as generations die off one reality emerges, "The dead are left in the hands of the living. In the end its what we do that has impact of long or short duration."
The show is at Fringe Festival location # 7 Centro Cultural De La Raza right next to Fringe Festival location # 8 The World Beat Center."
We chatted for a few more minutes after the show. One woman shows are hard to do.I saw the original Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg one woman shows. Kathleen Denny... has created a really good one woman show. It's at the San Diego Fringe for only two more shows---June 29th and July 1st. It's a must see.
Oh yea, Fringe . . . .is theater where you may, but don't have to dress up. A busy blogger's wish come true.!!!!