Why a Naked SunFish?
Our Top 5 Picksby Ted Kaneby John Bennettby Cory Tressler by Patrick O'MalleyTravel SectionRecipes and MoreBack Issues

by C. Mehrl Bennett

Sex, Lies and Shadowbox
Shadowbox Cabaret
Easton Towne Center
Columbus, Ohio

* * * * *

by Rick Brown

Shadowbox Cabaret’s new performance Sex, Lies and Shadowbox is a small departure from this time of year’s usual Sex at the Box. Subject matter is more diverse and there is a subtle depth to making fun of lying, questioning the realities of having a baby, relationships, et al. Yet in keeping with the old formula…and true to the manic comedy that is Shadowbox…this show is vulgar, coarse, disrespectful, loud, laced with obscenities, preposterous, profane, heretical, full of scantily clad women, sacrilegious, and at times downright perverted. .

And I loved every raucous minute of it.

Getting off to a warm and fuzzy start, Jimmy Mak and Jim Andes are Edward and Arthur – the adorable Campfire Boys. They chat honestly about lies in the way children do, revealing the candid truth…that we are all in fact…liars. Immediately following is the campy “Pyramid Game Show”, a spoof on Dick Clark’s old popular game show. The uptight Andersons (Jimmy Mak and Katy Psenicka) and lovable white trash Ducks (David Whitehouse and Amy Lay) romp through a forest of sexual verbiage both trying their best to win the big cash prize. In the end however, it is Mr. Duck’s inability to be honest that cost’s them the game.

After a delightful duet version of Prince’s “Take Me With You” by Carrie Lynn McDonald and Tom Cardinal, Amy Lay returns to the stage for “Shannon’s Movie Reviews: The Lord of the Rings”. It matters not how frequently I see this charmingly wise skit. Ms. Lay’s Shannon reviews flicks with the sarcasm of an adult, buried exquisitely within the innocence of a child.

“Bert and Ernie: Longtime Companions” seems at first to be lampooning the homophobia of many evangelicals. The smarmy Reverend Titas (Gabriel Guyer) is Stone Phillips’ (Tom Cardinal) sacred cow to slay. Titas’ ridiculously assumes that because Bert and Ernie have lived together for over 30 years they must be gay. But in a nice twist the sketch ends with the two Muppets swearing profusely and heading off to a strip club guaranteeing everyone is offended hilariously.

A running gag titled “O Surance” ridicules some of the biggest insurance companies in the business. These sexually charged sketches leave nothing to the imagination. The writing is brilliant and deserving of winning the enormous lawsuits that might be forthcoming. This show could have been called “Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse”. A consideration for next year perhaps?

While there are even more quality skits I have to comment on one I believe stands out in this crowd of excellence. “Helen and Ethel” (Katy Psenicka and Amy Lay) play two elderly ladies sitting on a bench at the mall people watching. This scenario could have been quite predictable and at times is a smidgeon. Yet the skill and range of these two fine actresses…their timing, character depth and talent…make the piece transcend just funny. They make this sketch at once a cuttingly observational, poignantly significant, and a refreshingly simple delight as they make comments about passersby. I loath having to walk through the mall to get to Shadowbox, so this obviously touches a nerve…one located very close to my funny bone. Ms. Lay and Ms. Psenicka brought the house down because of the genuine quality of their character portrayals. And when the two get disgusted and leave two even older ladies (brilliantly played albeit shortly by Storm Woods and Mary Randle) quickly replace them on the bench.

Musically…as always…BillWho? continues to prove itself one of the finest bands in Columbus. Sting’s “If You Love Somebody” is interpreted superbly by Jennifer Hahn, while Carrie Lynn McDonald’s take on Simple Mind’s “Alive and Kicking” actually had me thinking positively about the 80s…for a little while at least. Pink’s “Respect” is done with the double whammy of Sara Tomco and Amy Lay. (Is there anything Amy Lay can’t do? She sings…dances…acts…her spectrum of talent amazes me.) Even Ratt’s “Lay It Down” was great. Throwing every rock cliché in the book onstage…dancers on not one but TWO stages…a dominant woman leading a man on the end of a dog leash…curly haired lead guitarist Chris Lambert center stage doing his best Peter Frampton…it was all good. I guess if you use every cliché well it ceases to be a cliché.

Nah…not just anybody could pull this off.

But the musical highlight of Sex, Lies, and Shadowbox is the dapper, stylish, blues man suited Steve Guyer doing Bob Dylan’s (really?) “Catfish”. The arrangement is a slow blues…quite unusual for Shadowbox. Yet Guyer and guitarist Matt Hahn expertly used the tune’s dynamics to create a tension so thick you could slice it with a knife. Real blues…done by white boys no less!!! At one point…getting very quiet yet oh so funky…I noticed the crowd was so respectful the room was silent. And anybody who has ever been to this venue knows this NEVER…EVER happens. Yet here it is…that interplay between the music and the crowd’s reverence for it…at Shadowbox Cabaret…at the Easton Towne Center. I was beside myself. And fortunately for the comedy’s sake…this was the only thing remotely reverent all evening.

Sex, Lies and Shadowbox runs through March 31st. For more information go to www.shadowboxcabaret.com.


by John Bennett

by Ted Kane
Emotional Energy Paintings

by Donna Maria Distel


International City Whirlwind
Part One

London, England

By Rick Brown

Originally our friends Joe and Anita invited us to meet them in London, England…on December 11th no less. They were renting a flat from what coincidentally turned out to be the widow of my college advisor…a wonderful world religions professor to whom I owe my degree. Dr. Wilson talked me out of quitting Capital University my sophomore year. And here our new friends were…renting his wife’s flat.

Ordinarily Yvonne and I do not travel with others. At least we are very picky about who that might be. But we made plans to give everyone as much freedom to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. That…and they were going with their well-traveled friend Spencer, so we decided to go for it. Over time the excursion morphed into a London-Paris trip…in only 8 days. That’s a lot of living in a little over a week. And we had never traveled right before Christmas before…at least not to anyplace that isn’t 80 degrees with a beach.

We arrived on a Sunday. The other three got there a day earlier and when they discovered us meandering around the Kensington area looking for our hotel, I knew this vacation was going to be much different than any I’d experienced in the past. The three knew where our hotel was and escorted us there. They had even been there and jumped on the bed in our room! Rascals they are.

Flying V

by Rick Brown

It started as early as grade school I suppose. Whenever some obnoxious kid in my class chanted “Ricky and Susie sittin’ in a tree. K I S S I N G! First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in the baby carriage!!!” And unlike most children my age…it wasn’t really the kissing part that I objected to. Not even the marriage thing. It was the baby. I cringed at the word and thought something like “Shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves a little first?”

I’m sure the fact that I was the oldest of four in a working class family struggling to make ends meet, didn’t endear me to children. I had to help take care of my siblings who always seemed to get whatever I had to wait for…at the very same time I was allowed. The four summers as a camp counselor with groups of 13 year old boys didn’t help either.

Then there was the time in college…I was helping take inner city kids out trick or treating. I had gotten friendly with a woman who was in the group that night, so we were hanging together watching our respective one night foster kids beg for candy. I found her attractive and interesting and sensed she felt the same for me. Except right when I was seriously thinking of asking her out…I had to give some adult like instructions to my beggar child. She turned to me and cooed, “You will make a very good father some day!” I immediately lost interest in her.

I don’t by any means hate children. I think babies are cute and wonderful and all that. The people acting goofy around them bothers me more than a baby crying does. Now the “after they are a baby part”…that gives me the heebie jeebies. And I do feel that just about every experience in life is better without children involved. Call me Scrooge. I don’t care.




The Joseph Lorenzo Interview

by Rick Brown

Naked Sunfish - Let¹s start at the beginning Joe. Where are you from? What was your childhood like?

j.l. - i was born in brooklyn, but raised mostly in long island - my childhood is better left untouched, it was fairly normal on it's shell, but bizarre underneath - it made me who i am, rick - and i think you've seen a bit of the many sided coin that is

N.S. - How did you get interested in acting? Did you study?

j.l. - i was always a clown type character growing up - i always loved saturday night live and would mimic many of the characters with friends and such - i always had a 'performer's' personality - growing up, we always did a christmas show for the family (we once did a KISS concert, with my cousin vinny (no joke) spitting ketchup on my grandmother's floor - he got a smack from aunt theresa for that. when i really crossed the line, was in tucson, az. - my friend suede and i used to do spoken word stuff and the like and i went to go see him perform in "dillinger days" at Club Congress - they re-enact the capture of dillinger (who knew he was captured in tucson) - suede was incredible, i came to find out that he had studied in new york, etc. so i talked him up about his performance and a couple of weeks later, on one of our many intoxicated adventures, he talked me into going on an audition with him. well, the parts were for a native american and his white buddy, in their twenties, who were a bit outside the law and were taken into a small town jail - suede was as white as they come, from indiana, and you know what i looked like before the haircut, well that's how i looked then - when we walked in the door, their jaws dropped - i got the lead, suede was my support system and that began a 5 year run with the theater group "Theater degree zero" - i never did study, i just did it.

N.S. - I¹ve seen you do drama, sketch comedy, monologues such as Charles Bukowski and you are a pretty mean singer as well. What do you enjoy the most?

j.l. - music is my true passion - it is the song that always touched my soul the most. it's what inspired me to become a poet - the line "I want to be bob dylan" from "Mr. Jones" by the Counting Crows hit home for me - i wanted to be dylan, morrison, axl rose - rock n roll poet warriors have always been my preachers. just turns out that i was better at acting and found a way of expressing myself in that way - i have been able to touch people most profoundly in that way. i would have to say, though, that there is nothing better than making people laugh - in my best moments with shadowbox and 2co's, there was no greater joy than the belly laughs coming at me.

N.S. - How did you end up in Columbus, Ohio?

j.l. - i had gone to a regional theater audition in charlotte, north carolina - the southeastern theater conference - it's a huge audition for upwards of 100 theaters - shadowbox was one of five callbacks that i received - and it just seemed like the place for me - turned out incredibly

N.S. - One of your acting colleagues once told me you were a strict “method actor”. She said you were so “method” that when you played a scene set in winter you would stick your head in the freezer before going onstage. Is that true?

j.l. - the freezer story is completely true! it wasn't the penguin either - i guess if i had my choice, i would go as method as is possible. something interesting about the shadowbox experience - i would say that i was fairly pretentious and high minded about 'being method' before going there, but the way that place works, it's impossible to go there - to 'prepare' or 'get into the right space' or obsess or become self indulgent, because i would run from stocking the fridge with beer, or making a pitcher of freak and have to be on in seconds - it really taught me a lot about being able to just 'turn it on' and not get too deep into needing all that method type prep - but on the other hand, when that level of exploration is possible or that level of depth in research of character is possible - or the ability to get as far into a character's world and head is available, i will take it every time. it's one of the things i enjoy most about acting - becoming someone else - presenting someone else - taking an audience on a trip with someone other than me.


Our Top 5 Picksby Ted Kaneby John Bennettby Cory Tressler by Patrick O'Malley Travel SectionRecipes and MoreBack Issues

© 2001-2007 NakedSunfish, All Rights Reserved

Issue 1 - January 2002