Last Thursday, January 3, 2008 -- I add the year just as a kind of practice for myself to remember that we are now within the baby-grasp of the new year -- I went to FlynnSpace along with a packed house of other hardy Vermonters to see the first performance of three given by Paul Zaloom, puppeteer, comedian, ongoing graduate of Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover -- he returns their each summer -- and openly gay man. The organization of the show revolved around the centerpiece of a puppet show about a Syrian god of whose name and/or transcriptive encodification I have no idea as I sit here writing about his performance. The puppet show was preceded by a commentary based on bumper stickers that he had seen at a Bikerfest in Florida, followed by some fake bumpers stickers that he created that spoke to very different issues, but couched in an almost exact same blunt Anglo-Saxon (at Zalooms use of the first blunt word, there were a few quickly inhaled breaths that he immediately picked up on it and warned those who in inhaled quickly to be prepared for even more bluntness). The basic story was about this Syrian god and his boyfriend, and the travail that can take place when a cell phone transmission is interrupted and bleeps certain words from the conversation -- we've all seen the premise in commercials on television -- and includes the heros being granted nine wishes by a Genie who is created when but I really cannot tell you that, particularly because of the blunt Anglo-Saxon name he had. In fact, Zalooms entire evening was rather like seeing an off-Broadway musical entitled Naked Men Singing -- by the time youve heard the first three numbers, you are grateful for any clothing they happen to don. Meanwhile, back at the plot line, this Syrian god has suffered many twists and turns of fate much like Candide, and when he finally gets back to his boyfriend again and discovers that the boyfriend is true to him there is much happiness. Happy ending -- but, no -- since this is a work in progress, the audience members got to choose which of the three endings they preferred, and they all chose rather unanimously ending #3. There was a coda, which Zaloom provided based on his to having a Syrian surname. He reminded the audience that whether you spell his name Zaloom or Zaloum or in any other form that might phonetically be similar, and then he read from real documents which he guaranteed he would show to anyone who came up after the show, the coincidence of his last name and the last names of several prominent members of Al Qaeda -- after all, the show was entitled The Mother of All Enemies -- and this had an impact on some of the subplots of the puppet show as well. Was the show funny? Absolutely. For the most part the show maintained a fairly high level of genuine humor, but from time to time it was a little esoteric -- in fact, an audience member over two seats from where I was sitting and I were the only ones who laughed at one of the jokes. That there was a great deal of Anglo-Saxon bluntness was intrinsic to some of the audiences reactions to the show. Would I go to see them again -- them being Randy Trabitz, Director, and Master Puppet Maker Lynn Jeffries, who also worked as General Backstage Factotum, and, of course, Paul Zaloom, without whom there would not have been a show at all? Yes. Briefly noted
Dont forget that the rescheduled Orchestrapalooza by the Vermont youth orchestra Association at the Flynn theater will be held this coming Sunday, January 13 at 4 p.m. at the Flynn Center for the Performing arts. Tickets from the December 16 postpone date will be honored.