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Laughs keep coming at Riverside

nLocal theater festival runs for another two weeks

Been a while since laughter doubled you over in your theater seat? It might have happened to you again if you attended week one of the shows in the Revolutions International Theatre Festival 2002.

But not to despair, the next two weekends promise to be just as good. For now, this recap of last weekend's shows might give you a little smile.

"Live Girls Do Elektra," a two-woman comedy looking back on the aged, tragic Greek tale of the collapse of the house of Agamemnon, was a far jump from the tragic, older theatrical portrayals of the dysfunctional Greeks, such as "Oresteia."

Kristina Sutherland and Desiree Prewitt, the play's authors and performers, bounced the classic and ancient times to the present day, developing to perfection a host of Americanized characters who treat the agora like a super Wal-Mart. With the exception of a can of aerosol floor polish, clothing and an alcoholic Clytemnestra - "you can call me Clit" - boozing on Budweiser and gin tonics, the names and setting of the story were retained.

Soaked in social commentary, the play is in essence the fictional, hysterical untold story of Agamemnon's daughter, Elektra, who defies the ignorance of her neighbors by waiting for the return of her long lost brother Orestes - who ends up dying anyway. "Live Girls Do Elektra" was at the pinnacle of last weekend's glimpse into revolutionary comedy.

"Fiddle Talk," presented by Peter Schumann, the founder of the famous Bread and Puppet Theatre from Vermont, was a soothing discussion between the artist mastermind and the audience. Anyone outraged by America's actions in the Middle East will be happy to know that the Bread and Puppet Theatre is using art as a powerful vehicle of protest.

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In October, Schumann and his crew took 100 puppet costumes to Washington to demonstrate that while a 90-percent approval rate for the war in Afghanistan may exist in the media, millions of real citizens who don't approve exist in the flesh.

"We have seen this level of government persuasion," Schumann said while relating the details of his youth in Nazi Germany, "and we know what it can do."

The world-renowned puppets will appear the third weekend of this revolutionary theater festival with a performance piece choreographed in response to the culmination of events after Sept. 11. The performance will use 20-40 UNM theater and dance majors as part of the show. Any performance majors interested should call 980-1110 for more information.

Finally, "Motel California," written and performed by Harrington and Kauffman of New York City, was weighted on the whacky side of comedy and, unlike "Live Girls," tended to a more specific sense of humor, but lived up to every expectation of experimental theatrical mockery.

From a show of hands from the audience before each performance, it appears more people are attending the festival this year than last. The shows come complete with banqueted receptions and entertainment. So if the theater has failed to meet your entertainment needs recently, see it anew this weekend and redeem your faith. For more information, call the Riverside Theatre at 254-8393.

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