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Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

Jeudi

July 20th

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Ft. Renshaw Davis

 

Stuart McNair

Mahogany Jazz Hall, 6PM

Early Blues to Zydeco

 

Sober Social

Nola Yoga Loft, 7PM

A change of pace

 

Movie Screening

Tigermen Den, 7PM

A showing of Chantal Ackerman's No Home Movie

 

Literature Reading

Dogfish Reading Series, 7PM

Kay Murphy &  Megan McHugh

 

Cards Against Humanity

Bad Wolf Bar, 7PM

Let’s be horrible together

 

Toonces

Gasa Gasa, 8PM

Ft. KLYPH & Zigtegbra

 

Y’acht Rock 80s Night

One Eyed Jacks, 830PM

Ft. Where Y’acht and DJ White Wine

 

Eclectic Selection

Hi Ho, 9PM

Ft. DJ Pr_ck

 

The Vibe Session

Neo Jazz School of Music, 9PM

Live Neo Jazz, Soul, R&B

 

Theodile

Bar Redux, 9PM

Southern Soul to melodic Folk

Vendredi

July 21st

Friday Pop Up

Drifter Hotel, 1PM

By Lucille’s Roti Shop

 

Louisiana Sportsman Show

Superdome, 3PM

Back in NOLA after 12 years

 

Dinner and a ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Moana

 

Summer Nerd Movie Nights

Tubby & Coo’s, 7PM

A showing of The Neverending Story

 

John Waters Film Festival

NOMA, 7PM

A showing of Pink Flamingos

 

Leonardo Hernandez Trio

Casa Borrega, 7PM

Great food, great music

 

Comedy F#@k Yeah

The Dragon’s Den, 8PM

Ft. Shane Torres

 

New Rebel Family

House of Blues, 8PM

Ft. AYO, The Other LA, Akadia, and Ventruss

 

Mia Borders Trio

Foundation Room, 9:30PM

Open to the public

 

Alligator ChompChomp

The Circle Bar, 10PM

Crunchin’ on those notes

 

Foundation Free Fridays

Tips, 10PM

Ft. Walter “Wolfman” Washington + The Fortifiers

 

Spektrum Fridays

Techno Club, 11PM

Ft. Mikel Douglas + Dozal

SAMEDI

July 22nd

Ice Cream Social

Longue Vue, 10AM

Plus adoptable pets from the SPCA

 

Veggie Growing Basics

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Grow your own food

 

National Hot Dog Day

Dat Dog, 3PM

Raffles, ice cream and more

 

Cocktails and Queens

Piscobar, 6PM

A queer industry dance party

 

Immersive Sound Bath

Nola Yoga Loft, 7PM

Soothing 3D Soundscapes

 

Paul Mooney

Jazz Market, 8PM

Also ft. music by Caren Green

 

New Orleans Beatles Festival

House of Blues, 8PM

Come together, right now

 

Christmas in July

The Willow, 8PM

Ugly sweaters and peppermint shots

 

HOUxNOLA

Three Keys, 9PM

With Coolasty ft. Jack Freeman and more

 

Particle Devotion

Banks St Bar, 9PM

Ft. Paper Bison +  Tranche

 

Cesar Comanche

Art Klub, 9:30PM

Ft. Ghost Dog, Knox Ketchum and more

 

Gimme A Reason

Poor Boy’s Bar, 10PM

Ft. Savile and local support

 

Techno Club

Techno Club, 10PM

Ft. Javier Drada, Eria Lauren, Otto

 

DIMANCHE

July 23rd

From Here to Eternity

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

The 1953 classic

 

Eight Flavors

Longue Vue, 12PM

Sarah Lohman will discuss her new book

 

Book Swap

Church Alley Coffee Bar, 12PM

Bring books, get books

 

Urban Composting

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn about easy composting

 

Brave New World Book Club

Tubby & Coo’s, 2PM

Open to all

 

Gentleman Loser

The Drifter Hotel, 3PM

A classic poolside rager

 

Mixology 101

Carrolton Market

With Dusty Mars

 

Freret Street Block Party

Freret St, 5PM

A celebratory bar crawl

 

Mushroom Head

Southport Music Hall, 6PM

+ Hail Sagan and American Grim

 

Glen David Andrews

Little Gem Saloon, 8PM

Get trombone’d by the greatest

 

Hot 8 Brass Band

The Howlin Wolf, 10PM

Brass music for a new era

 

Church*

The Dragon’s Den, 10PM

Ft. KTRL, Unicorn Fukr, RMonic


SARAH: A Review

Facing the Stage



Fringe Fest is over, but the New Orleans theatre community chugs on. Down in the Bywater, a performance collective known as Skin Horse is keeping their production of Sarah going well past the theatrical smorgasboard of mid-November. Today, Helen Jaksch reviews the site-specific work.

 

SARAH is Skin Horse Theater’s latest theatrical experiment. A site-specific piece paying homage to the cinematic and the supernatural, it follows an evening between a professor named Caleb, played by Evan Spigelman, and his troubled wife Kate, Veronica Hunsinger-Loe, where nothing is what it seems. With help from director Nat Kusinitz, playwright Brian Fabry Dorsam creates a mundane household dinner party where shadows and darkness lurk in the corners. Though still a little rough around the edges, Skin Horse Theater’s SARAH is an unsettling and haunting site-specific piece that makes for one hell of a night of theatre.

 

READ: Skin Horse Theater Talks About Setting SARAH

 

Edward Albee would be proud. The text generates a real sense of mystery that supports a suspenseful build-up over the 70-minute performance. What is in the back room? Why can no one go in there? Where did all these antique furniture pieces and paintings come from? Who is Sarah? But suspense is only effective when something is kept in the liminal space. In between. Suspended.

 

In SARAH, the actors let the story get ahead of them. I knew from the moment Kate came down the black spiral stairs at the top of the show what was coming around the bend. It was written on the faces and bodies of each performer in the ensemble. They pulled the metaphorical rug out from under themselves, the metaphorical rug being Dorsam’s text and the incredibly rich space at 1239 Congress designed and dressed by Skin Horse. Instead of playing at Dorsam’s everyday and letting it unravel, we started with the threads loose. The play’s important climax and reveal was watered down because the surprise was not a surprise.

SARAH
Where: 1239 Congress St., Bywater
When: Dec. 1-4, 11 p.m.
Tickets: $10 (Limited Seating. Reserve tickets here.)

 

There was also a palpable friction between the hyper-real environment of the living room and the performance styles of the ensemble. The smoke of burnt asparagus was coming from the kitchen. It stormed the evening I saw the show and the visiting friends had speckles of rain on their sweaters. The actors ate warm food at a kitchen table. Candles burnt. Things were broken. Yet the performances did not match. With the exception of Kacey Skye Musik’s Sam, the performances were based in mannerism and gestures. Musik, and to some extent Hunsinger-Loe, grounded her performance in some sense of sincerity and I was invested in her character and her story. The gestures of the other performers were specific and cleanly executed, but they felt somewhat flat and false in the carefully crafted world of the play. The most glaring example was Evan Spigelman’s use of his glasses. As Caleb, he took them on and off. He gestured with them. He put them in his pocket. But he did not use or wear glasses like someone who wears them on a normal basis. This may seem nitpicky, but with the audience in such close proximity to the performers, every gesture is magnified. It takes on significance. And gesture without truth that does not serve the story rings hollow, no matter how you slice it. The piece needed less focus on gesture and more focus on genuine communication between performer and performer.

 

I also have to take issue with Veronica Hunsinger-Loe’s costumes. I am not sold on the choice of giving Kate a long flowing nightgown to wear while moving furniture from the attic to the first floor of their home, but that is personal taste. Spigelman’s costumes, however, did not fit. His pants were too long. His shirts too big. This may have been a choice, but he was swallowed by fabric. The costume wore him.

 

All that said, Skin Horse has created a bold and ambitious piece of theatre that should not be missed. The audience sat in chairs along the walls of the living room, both in and outside the performance. We attended the dinner party by proxy. We could feel the tension of the room and could not escape it. We were trapped. It was a smart and effective move on Skin Horse’s part. The performance takes advantage of the living room’s architecture and affective possibilities. The floors were rough and worn. The furniture was old and faded. The space felt haunted and heavy. Characters cook in the kitchen that we did not see. Kate and Caleb have a fight behind closed doors that we could only hear. SARAH is site-specific work at its finest.

 

Bradley Black’s sound design coupled with Spigelman’s and Anna Henschel’s lighting design was the triumph of the piece. Black’s sound crept through the walls. It bumps around the ceiling. It is a subtle and unsettling underscore to this piece that is both film-like and theatrical. The lighting mirrored the text. It was seemingly straightforward: wall lighting, lamps, candles. But as characters scratch open old wounds and emotions reach their peak, the lights responded. They flickered and dimmed. They switched on and off, and returned back to normal in the blink of an eye. SARAH takes a more comprehensive approach to the technical design, engaging smells, sounds, and sight to enhance the experience and to enliven the playing space. And the work paid off. There are truly five characters in this piece: four actors, one living room. I only wish the bold technical form did not manage to outpace the performers so often.

 

The most impressive feat of the night was the fact that SARAH genuinely scared me. Fear is not easily created in a theatrical environment where things feel safe and separate. We were inches from the performers. The only exit is the door you came in through. But your feet would not move. And your eyes were glued to the action. It is a perfect storm of technical elements, story, and performances that achieve that thrilling moment of terror/horror. And though I believe they undermined the full impact of this scare, I sincerely applaud Skin Horse for what they have done with this piece.

 

The actors did not appear for the curtain call. We are able to commend the effort of the performers and the production team, but this age-old gesture of clapping to dissipate the play’s ghosts was in vain. The unease hung in the air of the space and trailed closely behind while heading for the car. 

 

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily