Monday, May 28, 2012

Calling all morons: Theatre 99 has a lesson for you

Stupid is as stupid does

Posted by Deanna Kerley on Mon, May 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

In 1995, Theatre 99 made its humble beginnings in Charleston, hosting their first performance in a local church annex. Only six years later, they produced their first Piccolo Fringe Festival, and in 2004 they hosted the first Charleston Comedy Festival. Now housed in Theater 99 above The Bicycle Shoppe at 280 Meeting Street, the company has about 50 members that routinely perform improv, sketch, and stand-up for the public.

The theater first presented The Complete History of Charleston for Morons at the 2004 Piccolo Fringe Festival. A fast-paced, in-your-face "history" lesson on the Holy City, the show takes the audience all the way from colonial Charles Towne to the modern day redneck territory. But audience beware: this is not your average high school history lesson. Instead, expect a twisted take on Charleston's most infamous past.

According to Theatre 99 representatives, there are five crucial facts you'll take away from the performance:

1) Who was the first mayor of Charleston? Joe Riley.
2) Is it cool to do black face in 2012? Hell no, it's racist.
3) Who would play Captain Dixon in Hunley the movie? Sean Connery.
4) Can you put ketchup-based sauce on your BBQ? Are you kidding?
5) What kind of people come to a show entitled The Complete History of Charleston for Morons? Morons.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toronto comedians set to channel Tennessee Williams

Get ready for Impromptu Splendor

Posted by Erica Jackson Curran on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 3:30 PM


The comedians behind the National Theatre of the World don’t mess around when it comes to road trips. When we spoke to the Torontans earlier today, they were just recovering from a straight 18-hour drive from the Great White North that landed them in Charleston around midnight. They were back in the car when we spoke, trying to find their way to Theatre 99. In between helping them navigate our historic streets, I got a few hints about their show, which opens tonight and runs through June 5.

As we mentioned in the preview article published last week, the trio —Naomi Snieckus, Ronald Pederson, and Matt Baram — bases their improvised shows off the works of various famous playwrights. For their Charleston run, they’re channeling David Mamet (May 31), Tennessee Williams (June 1), Oscar Wilde (June 3), Sam Shepherd (June 4), and Anton Chekhov (June 5).

“They’re sort of the biggest names that we have, the most recognizable,” Pederson says. “We sort of want to give a greatest hits when we go to a festival. Maybe not pick the most obscure.”

Continue reading »

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

VIDEO: Man 1, Bank 0 Statements

Posted by Nick Smith on Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 10:03 AM

I asked people what they thought of Man 1, Bank 0 at the American Theater this week. Even spouses who'd been dragged to the show and knew nothing about it came out raving. There's something about the true tale of a poor man battling a big bank that gets audiences fired up.

I also got the chance to talk to the performer Patrick Combs and another solo storyteller, Martin Dockery (Wanderlust).

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Playtime is never over for UCB

Posted by Nick Smith on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 12:02 PM

You'd think that after a high-energy improv gig at Theatre 99, the visiting members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Co. would want to kick back and relax. Instead, they partied in the lobby until midnight.

The frolicsome personae of Jim Woods, Neil Casey, Lennon Parham, Shannon O'Neill, and friends are not just something they switch on for the stage. These people have no off button. They didn't act up just because they were being filmed. They did it because it's in their blood.

I talked to a couple of the performers as well as local comedy hero Greg Tavares (The Have Nots!) and Theatre 99 alumni John Brennan (The Banana MANalogues).

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hot Tickets: Beyond the Peninsula

Posted by Nick Smith on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Since Downtown gets most of the attention, it's easy to forget that there are events going on in other places, too. Busiest of all is the family-run Village Playhouse in Mount Pleasant, which has three highly recommended plays running at the moment.

Shipwrecked is an entertaining show for all ages but also explores the themes of truth mixing with fiction and the fickle finger of fame. It's well acted and unlike anything else in Piccolo Spoleto.

Souvenir is a comedy about the worst singer to ever hit the big time, Florence Foster Jenkins. Susie Hallatt — actually a very talented singer — has endeared audiences to her clueless character, and the slight premise holds up well throughout the show.

Like Shipwrecked and Souvenir, [title of show] is based on real events. [title] is a great example of what can be done with just four actors, four chairs, and a few cheap props. The cast put a huge amount of energy into their singing and acting, telling a true story that is relevant to contemporary audiences. Although it has musical theater in-jokes, it's fun for non-Broadway fans to watch and a symbol of low-budget Piccolo ingenuity.

Bowen's Island Restaurant off Folly Road has one more event before the festival ends. Saturday Night Fish Fry is a blues bash featuring Louis D, Ed "Porkchop" Meyer and Smoky Weiner & the Hot Links. The restaurant, a long-time local fixture, is a great location for blues and swing music. As a bonus, you get an ample bite of fish to go with your Weiner.

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