Adam reviews 'RIT School of Film & Animation Honors Show 2019,' 'Oz and Effect,' and '‘33 (a kabarett)' 

I always try to make a point of attending the annual Fringe program from RIT’s School of Film and Animation, which presents a host of films (34 this year) produced by the students of SOFA. The works are selected to represent every year of the school’s graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as every genre of film — so there’s bound to be something for everyone among the offerings. I could only stay for roughly an hour-and-a-half of the program’s four hour runtime, but I still managed to see a number of wonderful films.

My favorites included Camille’ Howard’s compassionate documentary “Yvonne’s Kitchen,” which follows its subject as she works to ensure that her fight against Parkinson’s Disease doesn’t keep her from living a fulfilling life on her own terms. I also loved the stylish stop-motion in “Symon’s Traveling Nightmare Show,” the sweet-but-not-sappy heart of “Prognosis” from Ryan Andriandhy, and the offbeat humor of Derek Gieraltowski’s animated “Fungeon,” which came complete with hilarious musical number. And “The Legend of Tom Kodak” was also a delight, presenting a revisionist history of the Kodak legacy in which the company’s innovations came not from George Eastman, but from his genius wheelchair-using cousin, Tom.

click to enlarge A scene from "Oz and Effect," performed at School of the Arts on Saturday, September 14. - PHOTO BY CATHERINE RAFFERTY
  • PHOTO BY CATHERINE RAFFERTY
  • A scene from "Oz and Effect," performed at School of the Arts on Saturday, September 14.
MCC’s On the Edge Drama Troupe’s inventive short play, “Oz and Effect” is a dark tale set in the world of L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” series. The show begins as we check in on the Lion, the Tin Woodman, and the Scarecrow to see how their stories progress after Dorothy left them behind. The play’s dystopian plot diverts from the novels to imagine how the three beloved characters might become corrupted by their individual gifts from the wizard once they’re named as the leaders Oz.

Characters deliver their lines in a sing-song rhyme (or full-on sung in the case of good witches Locasta and Glinda), but that doesn’t distract from the play’s pointedly grim tone. Sure, it may hammer home and over-explain its moral, especially once Glida starts explaining what we just saw. But its populist message sticks with you once the lights come up, showing its audience that even in the fantastical world of Oz there’s no escape from some familiar real-world troubles.

“Oz and Effect” will be performed again on Sunday, September 15, 4 p.m. at the School of the Arts Black Box Theatre. $10. Appropriate for ages 13 and over.


Bremner Duthie’s powerful one-man show “‘33 (a kabarett)” is loosely based on the tragic fate of the Eldorado Club in Berlin, which was raided and closed down before being taken over by the Nazis in 1933 and converted into one of their local headquarters. Against a stage strewn with his former castmates’ abandoned props and costumes, the kabarett’s master of ceremonies recreates the acts of his missing friends for a “stubborn, foolish, and brave” audience.

Singing, dancing, contorting his body into a powder keg of grief, anger, and sadness, Duthie gives a tour de force performance that earned a standing ovation from the Saturday night crowd. His writing doesn’t strain to make some disturbingly timely political parallels; as he notes in the program, this play “could unfortunately be set in any time.” It’s a sad but true statement, and one which inspires one man’s act of broken, anguished, and ultimately defiant resistance.

“‘33 (a kabarett)” will be performed again on Sunday, September 15, 5:30 p.m. at the School of the Arts Ensemble Theatre. $15. Appropriate for ages 13 and over.
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