InFringe Fest New Orleans: Week by Barry Eitel

Blunt Objects Theatre was proud to partner with InFringe Fest to present the New Orleans premiere of Week by Barry Eitel. The audience favorite at Blunt Objects Theatre’s 2014 Bacchanalia, this apocalyptic comedy has been hailed as “profoundly funny, like an episode of Seinfeld written by Sam Shepard.”  Three friends are trying to get their lives together, but can they do it before the world ends?  Each character finds the answer in their own way as the play grows darker and more absurd.  As Armageddon increases, it seems as if weeks or even months go by between scenes.  As Jack observes in the first scene, “It’s hailing outside.  Not beady hail.  Big fuckin’ chunks – golf ball sized at least.  It’s a drinking sort of morning.”  And it only gets worse from there. However, as the play’s title suggests, it all takes place in seven days, and time was rooted by multimedia imagery from Alma Sheppard-Matsuo (who also designed the poster!)

It was a delight to revisit this play, and expand it from a dramatic reading to a full production that breathed life into the absurd humor and poignant humanity of a dying world.  Guy embodies the attitude of an increasingly distracted society, determined to be normal in a combusting universe that is anything but, an almost painful Everyman character.  But his journey is offset by his roommate, Jack, an equally genuine soul who winds up embracing the reality of the “end of days.”  He is soon joined by Nicole, who becomes his girlfriend in desperate attempt to find love in a world where everyone else is either dead or mad.  But, in a Camus-esque assertion, their love seems no less genuine or legitimate because of its humanity.  This play is a true gem in how it uses humor to provoke honest questions in the audience.  Even as Guy affirms, “We were okay, we were all okay.  Everything was okay.  It was all okay” we can’t be so sure.  So we question, even after the show ends

This was a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growing New Orleans theatre community, and it was an honor to be paired with the Fortress of Lushington for our venue in the first – of what we hope will become annual – of this delightful theatre festival.  For those of you unfamiliar with InFringe Fest, it naturally filled a void when the national Fringe Fest franchise abandoned New Orleans in 2014.  Maybe that’s a strong accusation, but the festival that carried it’s banner in 2015 failed horribly even with nominal support of Fringe leadership.  Numerous venues and artists never saw payment for their involvement, and the performance community was content to move along to something different.  Fringe, unfortunately, was steadfast in its legal opposition to any artists who attempted to carry the name or resources of the larger organization to maintain a performance art festival in New Orleans.  So InFringe emerged as a sly middle finger to the powers that be, and we were simply fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when it all went down.

The cast of our humble contribution was:

Bohrs Hoff as Guy

Tom Foran as Jack

Kendra Wills as Nicole

Hoff and Foran are both founding members of the company, and we are proud to have Wills as our newest company member who will be directing our next exciting project!  While Hoff was listed as director, he asked it to be known that this was a group effort, which was an exciting return to the dynamic of our premiere show.  Special thanks is deserved to to Bunny who runs the venue and augmented our technical capabilities, as well as Michael Martin who had the Herculean task of organizing the festival and still enabled a magnificent team.

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