Last Fixin’ of Moral Stew
And then there were two
Reviewing improvisational performances is difficult because Moral Fixation’s next and very last show on June 7 after two years of performing together will be completely different than what was seen May 31.
This may come as sad news or merely a reminder for local comedy scenesters, but Caleb Usry is moving to Chicago to try his fortune at working with comedy troupes Theatre 99 has networked with over the years.
This is the last time you can catch him with MF and you should. This theatrical, long-form improvisational performance revolves around Lee Lewis, Greg Tavares, and Usry asking any audience member brave enough to speak in public to shout a word that means something to him or her. In this particular show, a woman, presumably a liberal, yelled out the word “environment.”
The three shrugged, nodded, let the brain wheels take a quick spin, and took a seat on folding chairs on the small American Theater stage to share what “environment” means to them.
One-by-one stories unfolded about a 15-year-old cousin throwing McDonald’s trash out the car window simply because littering is the tough way to rebel against teenage angst (i.e. acne), and how Methodist bible camp glory days were more about getting to second base with churchgoing girls than climbing a mountain and experiencing a moment with Mister Omniscient, and then the story spun off into a wilderness survival bit.
From there the three stood up, folded their chairs, and acted out interlacing, irrelevant scenes inspired by each other’s stories that somehow became a cohesive funny/weird/sometimes-serious story in itself.
The play went from cleaning up hiker’s trash as community service and stealing a cop’s gun, to a junior varsity Ku Klux Klan meeting the three attended because they weren’t racist enough to remember that true members don’t take off their white cones, which somehow led into a union-type meeting between echoes who wanted to rally against other echoes for abusing altitude pitches and favoring one person’s shouted tirade over another’s.
As much as this show made sense at the time, it doesn’t in retrospect, and that’s its brilliance.
MORAL FIXATION • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe Series • $12 · (50 minutes) • June 7 at 8 p.m. • American Theater, 446 King St. • 554-6060