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Theater review: SaraSolo Festival

Second annual festival showcases solo talent.

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In the world of live performance, annual festivals come and go. If you do it one year, that’s good intentions and good luck. If you do it two years, you’ve got an annual festival on your hands.

Such is the case with Gotta Van Productions celebration of the individual performers. Their second annual “SaraSolo” festival is now a matter of record. Yes, for the second year in a row, Anne Morrison and Blake Walton gathered the usual (and unusual) suspects together to the delight of area live theater buffs.

This year’s two-weekend festival brought some interesting and highly theatrical talents to the intimate stage of the Crocker Church.  Highlights include …

Carolyn Michel
Carolyn Michel

Carolyn Michel channeling the multitude of strong, quirky, fascinating women that she’s had the pleasure to be on stage.

Christine Alexander’s creation of a call-in radio show of the mind in an improvised collision of some of her favorite comic characters.

Lisa Seldin Dontzin’s fractured fairy tale initially debunking the notion that every little girl wants to be Cinderella at the ball—then finally admitting that, heck, she does, too. And ending with the triumphant shout that “It’s possible!”

Irene Garibay’s fearless exploration of the territory of magical realism. This included an invocation of a primeval bruja (a good witch, evidently), fragments of poetry, and an innovative use of fermented tea.

Irene Garibay
Irene Garibay

Puppeteer and animator Zach Dorn’s flight of fancy as he bounced from one absurd story to another in a mashup of monolog, digital film, puppetry, cartooning and pure imagination.

The performers all had one thing in common: a fierce originality. No two shows were the same. According to Walton, that’s exactly the point. And the reason more than 1,000 people attended this year’s festival.

“We’ve shined a light on solo theater for the second year in a row,” he says. “We’ve given people a taste of the power of the individual performer. Already, they’re hungry for more. People are already asking, “What are we seeing next year? The audience for solo theater is alive and well in our community—and that audience growing!”


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