I'm a little unclear about the rules involved in ZJU's annual event Astroglyde. At heart though, the premise is simple--and daunting. One performer who writes their own piece (a few minutes in length only). Someone else directs them. The lights rise, and we see the performer on a small platform. They speak. And we laugh. Or cry. Or bleed a little. From our souls. It all depends.
Interestingly, rather more performers than you might expect choose to play other-than-human characters. This year Melissa Munoz played a dog in "The Joint." The title refers to the dog pound, in which Munoz is a senior fellow as it were, a exchange that changed in mood (kinda sorta) 180 degrees in about three seconds.
Nicole A. Craig's "My Own Damn Hero" began a little vague, until we realized exactly to whom and under what circumstances she was speaking--then it seemed as specific as laser surgery.
Dorian Serna's "I The Amender" begins as a seemingly insane prayer by a hermit, possibly a serial killer. But rather than a sociopath, we slowly see this man as merely an outsider, whose few powerful connections to his fellow humans baffle but awe him to the bone.
"Betty Buys a Bikini" from Lee Quarrie proved more contemporary, as the title implies. No surprise it deals (as several do this time) with women confronting expectations as well as judgments. Well, a woman, and doing it in a simple, powerful way.
Amy Kooiman's piece, "Im Mother Fucking Wonder Woman" turns out to be something of an anthem to individual if quirky power.
"This is Me" by Olivia Spirz is an utterly charming (as well as slightly heartbreaking) one-sided conversation at the start of a dinner date.
Jason Britt's "Shadowboxer" was a technical tour-de-force, a startlingly fast but meaningful monologue emerging from somone clearly in severe mental distress. And I do mean severe--his occaisional bursting into song only the mildest of symptoms.
"Over The Rainbow" by Margaret Glaccum proved one of those that kinda ripped my heart out. In the first non-comedic role I've seen her do--as a desperately unhappy woman ascending (?) into fantasy--her performance totally sucked me into her situation, even sans almost any details (any shared anyway).
Jesse Lee's "North Pole" might be the most surreal offering, only in part due to the setup--an Elf offering as suggestion of how to improve Christmas, presented to his fellows and of course Papa Noel--but also to the deliberately off kilter delivery.
In the end it all proved a fascinating little corner of the human mosaic, one I heartily recommend. Alas only one performance remains as of this writing. Astroglyde 2015 plays this Firday November 20 at Zombie Joe's, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. (just south of the NoHo Sign) North Hollywood CA. Tix are $15. Reservations can be made at (818) 202-4120.