Leave it to the boys and girls at Youngblood Theatre Company to continue their mission of bringing offbeat, challenging and colorful theatre to Milwaukee audiences.
They opened their season with "(sic)," which may well be the funniest play I've seen this year.
Now they are set to test and entertain us again when they open "Cartoon" Nov. 30 for a couple-week run.
Written by Steve Yockey, this play has quite a reputation around the country. It's funny and daring, but it has a dark allegoric underside that some reviewers have said may well have something to do with our political system.
The performances will be at a place called the Milwaukee Fortress, 100A E. Pleasant St., in Brewers Hill. You know it, it's that big red building across the street from Schlitz Park that looks, well, like a fortress.
The story of this play is enough to make your head swim.
Incredible chaos arises when a character named Trouble steals the giant hammer bratty dictator Esther uses to maintain a monotonous but peaceful order. Their mismatched cartoon world is sent spiraling into a violent free fall in which friendship is betrayed, romance is twisted and no one is safe – including the audience.
"I am both excited and terrified by 'Cartoon,'" says director and Youngblood Artistic Director Michael Cotey. "It's a big machine of play. In addition to each actor playing stylized cartoon stock characters, we have musical numbers, stage violence and live animation while trying to find a balance between the wackiness and severity of the play.
"We live in a culture of violence that Wisconsin has seen its fair share of this year," says Cotey. "We picked 'Cartoon' long before any of those tragic events occurred, but it will be interesting now to see how the play's take on violence resonates with our audiences in the midst of this twisted cartoon world."
"Cartoon" features actors Alexandra Bonesho, Lindsey Gagliano, Jordan Gwiazdowski, Sydney Ruf-Wong, Jessie Mae Scibek, Michael Traynor, Jason Waszak and one of my favorite young actors, Andrew Voss.
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