The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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‘Out of the Loop’ fringe festival delivers through weekend

“Beauty Shop Stories” are trite, touching

Faye Lane’s show “Beauty Shop Stories” has been getting a lot of attention from the local media and it seems that the easiest explanation for this is that Texans love homecoming stories.

Right after the platinum blonde greets the audience, she explains that she has not always been the writer and performer living in New York City and that deep down she is always the overweight Rhonda Faye Gunnels who grew up in her mother’s beauty shop.

She relates stories of these days in the shop and all the regulars who would dish out wisdom as though they were all her grandmothers. This southern wisdom is the main subject of her monologues and songs, but is mixed in with tales of being teased for being fat and songs about the different foods that made her that way.

In fact, there are three words that she overuses throughout the performance: ‘moon pies,’ ‘fat’ and of course ‘y’all.’

The songs in her show are trite, yet endearing although when she puts on a recreation of her bedazzled string bean costume from elementary school it is adorable.

Her stories seemed to strike a vein with the audience at Out of the Loop with their heartwarming morals and comforting southern sentimentalities. Besides, who can resist the daughter who returns to her family after time away in the big city?

‘The Lesson’ keeps good pace

Second Thought Theatre’s festival entry is “The Lesson” by Eugene Ionesco and although this absurdist play is not a safe choice, the production is smartly accomplished.

This play requires great performances, which it receives from Anastasia Munoz as the student, David Lugo as the professor and Abigail Herring as Marie. And it requires a director who can communicate Ionesco’s messages of failed ideologies and the struggles of human communication, which Mac Lower accomplishes for the most part.

The pacing of the opening is quick and creepy and as Munoz goes into a trance, she gracefully swings her arms and legs in a spacey manner, while Lugo paces madly around the room. “I have a toothache” she cries relentlessly, while he chatters on about Neo-Spanish versus Spanish and knives.

It’s a creepy comment on human nature and serves as a reminder that STT is one of the more professional companies in this festival.

The final performance of this piece is Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“The Great White Way” goes belly up

A campy musical inside of a campy musical? Not sure why Cordes & Parr Productions thought this was a smart move for his Out of the Loop festival entry, but it’s safe to say this is one of the festival’s biggest flops.

“The Great White Way” is a full-length musical about a struggling theater company mounting a production of a musical that appears to be based on “Jaws.” The main love story of the musical takes place in the costume shop between the washed-up writer John Worth and the aspiring singer Estrella Proxima. Both claim to have given up their respective arts until meeting one another and John decides to write Estrella a musical.

That’s the basic plot, besides the incoherent addition of a muse-like ghost. The characters are in a bad musical working for a bad musical and attempting to write what we can only guess will be another bad musical.

If every actor in this show were having as much fun as Michael Gasparro in the role of the Great White Shark or were as talented as Darius Anthony Robinson in the role of Tinker Bell, the lovable gay who runs the costume shop, this campy musical might become some sort of cult classic in the tread of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” or “The Room.”

But David Parr’s book and lyrics struggle to create solid characters or songs that are anything beyond hokey. When Estrella sings about being attacked while hitchhiking, the audience is forced to decipher what she is singing about, and later the show’s blonde bimbo Sandy Beach sings an irrelevant song about gnats being heartless. Rebecca Cordes’ music is adequate, but doesn’t add enough momentum to keep this musical on its feet.

Estrella declares in the first act that she doesn’t like musicals and by the second act, the audience understands her sentiment.

“The Great White Way” performs this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Dance troupe demonstrates feminine strength

The power of the human body, particularly that of the female, was highlighted in Muscle Memory Dance’s addition to the weekend.

Muscle Memory has been participating in Out of the Loop for several years and they choose to tell the stories of women who face struggles that break them down. It’s always intriguing to see dancers tell stories without words and this performance had some captivating moments.

It seemed though that the dancers were to a great extent focused on perpetual motion and displays of strength rather than having full control and grace.

FTP Comedy Night Cap

“Inside the Loop” is a fun way to end a night at the festival. This improv group is focused on taking Dallas to task with their festival performances. Their first performance was Friday at 10 p.m. and most of their sketches kept the audience in stitches. They perform again this upcoming Friday and Saturday, March 12 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, but students can purchase them for $5 on Friday and receive their first beer free.

Dallas Poetry Slam

The other late night event was a spoken word competition known as the Dallas Poetry Slam. This energetic event asked poets from across the metroplex to compete for the randomly-chosen judges in the audience. If you get a chance to catch this group around town, it’s something you don’t want to miss. For more information visit dallaspoetryslam.com.

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