Sunday, March 2, 2014

Theater at Home Resource presents "Is It Feasible?"

Sometimes the calendar conspires in my favor.  As a "friend" of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory Theater, I hear about events that would otherwise fly under my radar.  In January, an email hit my inbox about a performance of a one man play by third year Conservatory student Zhlatomir Moldovanski.  The show--entitled "Is It Feasible?"--is an adaptation of four short stories by Bulgarian humorist Chudomir.  I'll admit to not being familiar with Chudomir (are you?), but I've been so impressed with the productions put on by the second year Conservatory students that I was intrigued.  Sadly, my calendar did not permit me to attend the show, which was staged in the Cook Theater at the Asolo.

With Wendi at Theater at Home Resource
The production of "Is It Feasible?" was so well-received that two encore performances were put on last week at the Theater at Home Resource in Sarasota.  My friend Wendi was in town, and we headed north for an evening of great theater in an intimate setting.

I admit to being a bit confused when we pulled into the parking lot.  As it turns out, Home Resource is a furniture store.  Owners Kathy and Michael Bush became avid theater-goers while living in London.  They now use their store to host periodic events that "recreate the fringe theater experience" they so enjoyed.  Works for me!  After buying our tickets (the proceeds of which went to the actor), we made our way back to the "theater," which was a large room in which comfy couches had been arranged for our viewing pleasure.  With our complimentary beverages in hand, we settled into our front row seats and waited for the show to start.  It was hard not to kick off my shoes and curl up!

Zlatomir Modovanksi relaxing post-performance
From the opening moments of the performance, I was fully engaged. Moldovanski plays a representative of the city of Sofia, which is the capital of and largest city in Bulgaria.  The time is 1965, and people from outside the city are required to obtain special permission in order to move to Sofia.  The representative's job is to welcome the lucky new residents.  After a few words, he begins to relay his real message, which is essentially "Get out while you can!"  You see, his life in the city feels like that of a traveling bell hop as he runs errands for his wife and walks to and from the train station to greet and drop off visitors.  He longs for his life in the countryside.

Moldovanski utilized both emotional intensity and physical humor in his portrayal of the hapless "bell hop."  The stories were quite funny, and at times I found myself laughing out loud.  My favorite vignette featured the effects of plum moonshine and included audience participation.  With the words to a Bulgarian drinking song flashing on a screen behind him, Modovanski engaged in a drunken dance that brought him perilously close to tromping on my toes.

There was a talkback after the performance, which is always a treat. Moldovanski talked a bit about the dynamics of a one man show and how the audience becomes his partner in the performance.  The prior night's show had been his first in a non-stage setting, and he said it was a great learning experience to be so up close and personal with the audience members.

Moldovanski also spoke a bit about Bulgarian culture. As a child, his mother read him Chudomir's stories about the differences between city life and village life under communist rule.  Moldovanski said that Bulgarians learned to laugh at themselves and their plight, and that Chudomir's satirical stories capture that humor perfectly.  

In "Is It Feasible?," Moldovanski bridges the gap between the two cultures within him. He hopes to have the opportunity to perform the play in his native country someday.  He also hopes to take the show to New York.  (He has submitted the work for inclusion in the United Solo Theater Festival.  Something else to add to my bucket list!)  For now, though, be on the look out for additional performances of the show in the Sarasota area.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating experience, Nanette. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete

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