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'Djurassic Parc' [Review]

23 theater artists and groups each reinterpret a scene of ‘Jurassic Park’.



"Hungover Triceratops" by Anna Drezen and friends


Fresh Ground Pepper is a monthly event series for the development of emerging art. They specialize in free events that allow theater artists to experiment, often with very limited time to rehearse.


"FGP Epic" is an annual program in which FGP divides up an important cultural work and assigns pieces to a variety of artists, to interpret as they chose. Previous years have used musicals like Grease and Guys and Dolls as inspiration; this year at Irondale, the theme was Jurassic Park.


A Variety of Thrilling Acts


Accompanied by live musical performances of the score and occasional projected clips of the movie, Djurassic Parc was a blast all around. Some of the pieces were quiet and contemplative, while others featured actors shouting at the audience in a cacophonous chorus while confetti rained down from above or almost-nude dancers spitting what appeared to be milk at each other. With a bar on either side of the stage and frequent breaks, the performance was a social event as much as it was theater.


That doesn't mean that there weren't fantastic, detailed and engaging performances. In addition to "traditional" theater, there were also original films, a live cooking show, dance both comedic and serious, video games, puppetry and live video projection. Notable performances included "Hungover Triceratops," the triceratops scene from the dinosaur's point of view, "Barely Legal: the DILFosaurus," a dance performance from a drag-tastic, lip-syncing velociraptor and "Flea Circus," an original piano ballad covering that story from the movie.


Star Performers


My personal favorite section was in fact a two-parter: "Staged Reading of a T-Rex Attack from Jurassic Park" and "Staged Reading of Some Other Scene from Jurassic Park" by T. Adamson and Cat Crowley. The duo told the story, not of the movie itself, but of watching Jurassic Park as a child in 1993 and then as a parent in 2013, with all of the hyperbole, absolute terror and rapid consumption of Chips Ahoy that entailed.


A close second place was the penultimate act of the evening, "Fiscal Irresponsibility and Debt Accrual in Theme Park Operations: a Report" by Alex Johnson. The monologue, given by an intern sent to the park to write a report about investing in its operations who was left behind by the helicopter at the end of the movie, was perhaps the most hilarious depiction of pure terror I have ever seen.


A Success Despite Itself


With almost the entire audience under the age of 30, this was clearly an event for '90s kids, and it did not disappoint. Though the program ended up being an overwhelming three-and-a-half hours long and the theater desperately needed a screen for projections to cover up the antique painting in the middle of the back wall, Djurassic Parc was an evening of both buzzed entertainment and legitimate creative art. If nothing else, it was worth going just to see the myriad inventive dinosaur costumes created on a shoestring budget.


At only five years old, Fresh Ground Pepper is a relatively new arts organization, but if this evening was any indication they are going to accomplish great things. Making new theater accessible to a general audience can be very difficult, and this group is doing a fantastic job of it. Who doesn't like dinosaurs?


This article was previously published on CHARGED.fm.

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