The Last Straight Man In Fresno

I just finished my run of seven shows at the Rogue Festival in Fresno. I love the Rogue, because it’s one of those festivals where they are very welcome to the out-of-towner performers – from the festival staff to the audience. Not every festival is like that, so Rogue is a joy. My show did well, especially in terms of critical acclaim. For those of you who have followed my career, you know that I haven’t always had the best luck with critics. Even this show had been split down the middle in terms of praises and pans during last year’s tour. In Fresno, it received great reviews across the board. For those of you who have seen the show, you know that this is very different from my past work, while still retaining the character work and comedy style that I have done for years. It’s multi-layered with a lot going on throughout, some of which people figure out when they are thinking about the show AFTER seeing it. I’m very proud of it, and I give mega-credit to my director Alison Cousins, who really should be there by my side getting the credit as well.

This was the first time I did a run of the show where people actually asked me about some of the themes and narrative style of the show. There were some people waiting outside after the show who asked me questions about it. I suppose I could say, “It’s more fun for you to figure it all out for yourself.” Instead, I tell people what it means to me, what the title means (it actually has different meanings, sort-of), and how it all really connects. I don’t know if I should tell people that, but after putting so much work into the show, it’s a pleasure to talk about it. If they ask me, of course.

I enjoyed talking to other performers and writers about the show. My playwright friend Marcel Nunis said it was like “an Impressionistic painting brought to life.” Someone said it is me bringing people along the ride of my stream-of-consciousness, no matter how strange it is. Some think it’s weird, and some people think it’s not weird. What I have learned is that – so far – this show has an audience, but it is not a broad audience. That really shouldn’t be a surprise, though. We’ll see how the next run goes.

When is the next run? Well, I am very close to getting into the Orlando Fringe Festival in May. I am high on the wait list, so if a few more shows drop out, I’ll be there. If not, then next will be the Ottawa Fringe in June, and then I’ll be doing a U.S. Midwest tour in July and August.

For my own archival purposes and for you to enjoy, I am going to now republish my Fresno reviews. I am censoring nothing. I honestly did not get a bad review in Fresno.

Jesse from The Undercurrent:

I have mixed feelings about the venue, particularly since it doesn’t seat many people, but that’s not terribly relevant.

I knew I’d like this show because I liked Kurt’s show last year. I was surprised just how much more I liked this year’s show, though! It’s really different, and in a very good way. Kurt (like many other Rogue performers) takes on several different characters. Kurt, though, interacts with some of his other characters on a video screen, acting opposite himself. Sometimes he’ll trade rolls with himself, drawing one character off the screen and sending the character that was in the room with you to the screen. There’s a tongue-in-cheek element, brought forth through obviously intentional roughness of costuming and editing, but he doesn’t let this get in the way of the story. He also does some interesting things temporally, so you won’t necessarily appreciate a character element until later in the show. The whole time I watched the show, I was intrigued, and I came away knowing I had seen something really unique for this year’s festival. I highly recommend this!

Amy from the Undercurrent site:

After the first weekend of Rogue shows, I named this show the show I would most like to see again. It’s interesting, well done, and just weird enough.

Reader Feedback from the Rogue website

Responses to “The Last Straight Man in Theatre”

jenne says:
March 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm
This is a must see show! Funny, unusual, creative in the extreme! Kurt’s use of mixing film with live action, and intermingling the characters was nothing short of brilliant, and very well played! I recommend it for adults only though. His intensity reminds me of Robin Williams… amped up a notch or two…

Thomassai says:
March 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Enjoyable, imaginative, quirky, fun. The live/tech aspect was cool.

Thomassai says:
March 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm
Fun stuff. Playful. Gotta hear the cat (puss)song!

Ernie says:
March 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm
I loved it. It made me laugh. I’m happy.

Virlie says:
March 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm
Mr. Fitzpatrick is brilliant. He is very funny, very talented and he can carry you away from your self to his amazing world. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching his shows. He is a genius in thinking of this new way of entertainment. I hope he’ll be back next year, maybe I’ll have the courage then to ask for his signature. I am a fan

Fresno Bee Hive Review by Kathy Mahan:

The best way to describe Kurt Fitzpatrick’s one-man show “The Last Straight Man in Theatre” is weird (There’s gratuitous use of cats. Nonlinear storytelling. Strange characters. Multimedia. Dancing. Pie. And even an orgasm.)

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I did, strangely. It’s so odd that I found my self transfixed, waiting to see what would happen next. Waiting to see if I could finally make sense of what it all meant. In the end, I did, sort of, get it.

Mainly, I walked away from the show encouraged by the unique storytelling and use of multimedia. This show could not have been easy to put together — combining the live acting with the video acting and making all feel as one. Fitzpatrick, who plays a series of male and female characters, is so energetic that the production never loses steam. He does a good job of making his surrounding and the audience part of the show.

At last year’s Rogue Festival, Fitzpatrick created buzz with his “Hooray for Speech Therapy.” I didn’t see that show, but I get the feeling this year’s show is a little different. I wasn’t sorry I dedicated 60 minutes to this show. There were parts that made me laugh, such as the national anthem, computer dance and teen-age chat. And there were part that had me dumbfounded. But I stuck with it, and in the end, I liked it.

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