"Hmm, this play has the lingering influence of Chekhov;" How to fake your way through theater

by phil on Thursday Jan 15, 2009 10:03 AM
Austin, cocktail party wisdom, mainfeed

Frontera Fest is a most awesome theater event in Austin. The highlight is the Short Fringe, which over the course of four weeks, has around 72 new short plays, no longer than 25 minutes each. So on almost any given night at the start of every year, you can see a rapid succession of one experimental, interesting concept after another. Last night, I saw this guy use PowerPoint to describe a market survey he did of all his ex-girlfriends, and how if you look at the data the right way, his value as a lover is on the up-swing. A couple friends of mine also did a great play involving an accordion-playing Grim Reaper. A video I recorded of it will be up here shortly on Squidhelmet's YouTube Channel. For now, though, it has one of their plays I recorded last year.

Anyway, this is all segue to what I want to really post: "Faking Your Way Through FronteraFest." This is an article I saw in the print version of TheOnion last week. Some choice parts: "What you should talk about ... commenting on the play's effectiveness at striking a balance 'between the spectacle of the stage and the power of words.'" and "Dead giveaways to avoid ... comparing plays to movies or TV shows. While many playwrights do draw inspiration from other art forms, unless you're positive a play was lifted from an old episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., avoid non-theatrical mediums altogether."

It's the best example of the concept I call "cocktail party wisdom." I have a belief that 85% of the knowledge people have (outside of their profession or the lives of their loved ones), is cocktail party wisdom. You could call this knowledge worldly knowledge, or cultural knowledge, and it would, for example, include things like current events, films, music, TV, politics, etc.

Anyway, I scanned in a copy of "Faking Your Way Through FronteraFest:"

A note about this scanning. I did not ask TheOnion's permission to do this. So, there is a chance they will send me a take-down e-mail. However, I could not find an online version of this, which is dumb in our Web 2.0 world. At the very least, me putting this out there reminds people that TheOnion puts out local guides in 10 major metros in the United States. So pick up those papers and look for the insert next time! (Viral marketing!)


Dan Solomon said on May 13, 2009 4:24 PM:

Hi there, found your blog while very specifically self-Googling (I'm working on a new entry to the "faking your way" series and wanted to see the old ones). Anyway, I wrote the piece in question, so thanks for the commentary! Also, there actually -is- an online edition of the local content for the Onion, but it only debuted about six months ago. It's at austin.decider.com, just for your own reference. (That's not a request to take the scan down or anything, as I'm not involved in any of that stuff, and it's nice to see the print version at any rate.)


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