Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Sousepaw: A Baseball Story

Shelby Company

From Brooklyn

Written by Jonathan A. Goldberg

Historical content, Drama

Contains Nudity, Adult language

For ages 16+

Sousepaw is nominated for Fringie Awards--the unofficial MN Fringe awards given by FringeFamous.com! See all the nominations and vote for Sousepaw!

Outstanding Producion
Outstanding Performance (female): Ariana Venturi as Reptile Girl
Outstanding Performance (male): James B. Kennedy as Rube Waddell
Outstanding Direction: Luke Harlan


"First, get on Wikipedia and read up on left-hander Rube Waddell. He pitched like a demon from about 1900 to 1910. This heartbreaking play puts Waddell in a Texas hotel, on the eve of what he believes will be a comeback. He has asked the Reptile Girl from a local circus to come visit him. These two bereft souls express an epic, if tragically doomed, hope for better things. James B. Kennedy and Ariana Venturi are outstanding, with a palpable chemistry. Jonathan Goldberg's script is a small jewel. I would see it again and again."
- Graydon Royce, Star Tribune Full Review

"The show to beat. First five kitty review of the year."
- Phillip Low, MNArtists Full Review

"5 Stars. Goldberg's script is a beautifully written character study and director Luke Harlan guides the two actors through this story making the most of every intimate moment."
- Matthew A. Everett, Twin Cities Daily Planet Full Review

"Fascinating character study.... James B. Kennedy and Ariana Venturi create two vivid portrayals that complement one another splendidly."
- Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press Full Review

"Their conversations about their lives, their hopes, and losses, make up the bulk of Jonathan Goldberg's tremendous play."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages Full Review

"Easily one of the top dramas in the festival this year.... Absolutely top notch acting. "
- Kate Hoff, Full Frontal Fringe Full Review

"A well-crafted and ably-acted story...Four stars."
-FringeFamous.com Full Review

SOUSEPAW: A Baseball Story

1914, in a rundown hotel in Texas, self proclaimed "greatest lefty pitcher" Rube Waddell is planning his big comeback. He's known for his wild pranks and a child-like love of fire trucks and zoo animals; however, he's also famous as a fall down drunk. Ready to put it all behind him for this one last chance, he hires the Reptile Girl from the circus to keep him company -- and sober. But she has her own twisted past telling fortunes and running away with an encyclopedia salesman who could name all the stars. During their long night together these two lost souls spill their secrets and try to hide from a truth that can't help but be revealed. Loosely based on a true story.

With: James B. Kennedy as Rube Wadell and Ariana Venturi as The Reptile Girl

Written by: Jonathan A. Goldberg

Directed by: Luke Harlan

Featuring Costume design by Deanna Frieman.

Jonathan A. Goldberg
Role: writer
has had work seen at: The Flea, Barrow Street, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, The Theater Garage, NJ Rep, The Public Theater, and many others. His play The Jew and the Demon won the Rita and Burton Prize and How to Shoot a Bull Moose won the Israel Baran Award from the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, CA. The Wizard of Wall Street a musical based on Jay Gould that he wrote the book and co-wrote lyrics for was part of the Premier Musical series at Indiana University. He was a guest artist at the 2009 LAByrinth summer intensive and a finalist for the Jerome Fellowship. He is the co-creator of the monthly sketch theater series Ephemerama in Brooklyn. He has an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Luke Harlan
Role: Director
is a director living and working in New York. He has developed new plays at such institutions as The Public Theater, The Old Vic, New York Theater Workshop, Tectonic Theater Project, The New Group, The Kennedy Center, Columbia University, and the O'Neill Theater Center. Luke is a teaching artist with Stages on the Sound, a member of The Pack, The Assembly, an associate artist with Working Theater, co-founder of the Southeastern Fringe Festival, and founder/director of the Working Theater Director's Salon. Selected: Shift (Old Vic), #serials (Flea Theater), Shakespeare in ACTion (Stages on the Sound), Frontier, As Told By The Frontier (Columbia) Cou-Cou Bijoux, Pour Vous (Galapagos, Joe's Pub), Insatiable Hunger, a new musical (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), Fighting A Fish (Kennedy Center); Assistant Director: 33 Variations (La Jolla Playhouse). SDC National Directing Award Winner, Member SDC.

James B. Kennedy
Role: Rube Waddell
is a longtime member of Shelby Company, & can be seen in their on-going monthly sketch theatre series "Ephemerama". Some of his recent NYC Theatre credits include "New Beulah" by Dan Moyer (Winner Best Featured Actor, & Winner Best Ensemble Cast 2009 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards), "His Beauty" by Ashley Jacobsen (Nominated Best Supporting Actor 2010 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards), "The Last Days of Lenny Bruce" by Jonathan Goldberg, & "Couples Counseling" by Carey Lovelace, which also ran in the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. He has appeared in, & done voice-over's in various commercials on television. As well as motion capture work & voice-over work in various video games & cartoons.

Ariana Venturi
Role: Reptile Girl
Recent New York credits include the world premieres of: "Classic Kitchen Timer" (Adam Rapp), "Dance Dance Revolution" (Alex Timbers) "Recess" (Sheila Callaghan/Kip Fagan), and Vendetta in Clubbed Thumb's "Vendetta Chrome." Education: Vassar College, RADA. Ari's comedy work can be seen at UCB and Collegehumor.com. You should probably follow her creepy alter-ego @_YOUNGFRUIT_.

Deanna Frieman
Role: Costume Design
is a NYC based designer who enjoys bringing to life new works. Recent: Home/Sick (The Assembly), The Land Whale Murders, Uncle Shelby’s Wunderpantry of Possibilities (nominated Best Costume Design for Planet Connections Theatre Festival), The Luck of the Ibis (Shelby Company), Blair Singer’s Meg’s New Friend and The Most Damaging Wound (The Production Company). Deanna is a teaching artist for Roundabout Theatre Company and a merchandiser at Housing Works Thrift Shops. She holds an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon. You can visit her website at www.deannarosedesigns.com.

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MUST See if you can reserve tickets
by Suzanne Sharrock Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Sad, beautiful, well-written, well-acted sorry of an amazing baseball player of the early 1900's (at least he has a great grave market i West Texas). Beautiful, heartbreaking, you know he and the Dragon Girl have a minimal chance, but you just keep hoping. Kept me completely enthralled and immersed in both characters. Very creative, innovative, and with minimal set and story. Must See Again!

Not Really A Baseball Story
by August Berkshire Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
"The Natural" meets "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Two broken people looking to each other for salvation. Sometimes it's better if such people don't get together.

Powerful Play , not to be missed
by Mic Weinblatt Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This powerful play in the tradition of Sam Shepard provides a fleeting glimpse into the lost hopes and broken dreams of two lonely people. Their lives were rendered palpable by the stunning work of James B. Kennedy and Ariana Venturi under the the direction of Luke Harlan.I was riveted by the performances , the staging and the palpable sense of dispair projected by this pair of wonderful actors. Don't miss this one!

Strong Historical Romantic Comedy Drama
by Heather Baldwin Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
A touching and provocative story about a washed-up major league pitcher and a circus performer/prostitute who meet up in a seedy motel room and bond with each other. The performances from both of these actors were spot-on, creating genuine depth to their characters. Rube has this endearing, child-like innocence about him, yet he becomes a threatening presence when he drinks, a Jekyll & Hyde-like transformation. Reptile Girl, a tough independent woman, has this sweet and painful vulnerability about her that the audience can empathize with. Despite the fact that I was suffering from a severe sore throat and high fever while watching this show, I nevertheless stayed riveted and entertained all throughout the performance.

A Fringe Must See
by Lucy Nelson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This play is my first 5 kitty review. The play is an excellent example of great writing combined with wonderful acting. From start to finish I enjoyed this show. The dialogue between the two characters is heartfelt and raw while keeping true to the time period. Once again this is the best the fringe has to offer.

A moving performance
by Lauren Arneson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Some laughs, but otherwise a serious play. I attended because I like baseball. I was not disappointed.

Simple and excellent
by Derek Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Two characters holed up in a seedy motel room. Bottles of booze. Broken dreams. Sure, you've seen this type of play a hundred times before; but, considering how often modern plays strive to be hip and clever, it's refreshing to see something this nakedly sincere. And it doesn't hurt that James Kennedy and Ariana Ventura both turn in wonderfully complex and understated performances. Kennedy, as Rube Waddell, is by turns hopelessly childish, manic, inspiring and dangerous, but through it all maintains an amazing magnetism. Venturi, as Reptile Girl, slides through many more subtle shifts, deftly rendering a broken women who only knows how to survive by changing her skin. Good, solid writing and terrific performances all around.

terrific drama
by Ben Kreilkamp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
"Heartbreaking" was a word I heard about this show and I agree. I was quite drawn into this very American tale of ruined dreams. The script is a little over-written but highly poetic and solidly grounds its poeticism in a strong foundation of its action and plot. Jonathan Goldberg writes in a cross between O'Neill's hard luck working class tales and Tennesee Williams poetic emotionalism. Beyond that the acting verges on brilliant, both the ball player and his "entertainment" the lizard girl, presenting contrasting portraits of wrecked souls. It's a close call but I'd give the prize to Ariana Venturi for a depth of existential despair you generally only get from heroin addicts. James Kennedy's ballplayer has less complex demons but beauti

Still thinking about the show
by Ryan Howell Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is a show for anyone who has experienced one of those massive, sad, and yet beautiful nights, where you're stuck in a room with someone, trying to figure out life; past, present, and future.

I will be seeing this show again. It is not only the best fringe show that I have ever seen, but one of the best shows period. Simply beautiful.

top notch acting, writing
by Clark Kinser Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This one is intense drama with superb acting and very good writing.

by Christine Brandt Follow this reviewer
Rating 0 kitties
This production reminded me of a horrid experience I had as a young actress breaking into the Village Theatres in New York City. This production, like that one, was over-written, much too wordy, sophomoric and difficult to endure for one hour. The two characters are uninteresting and bland. four of us saw it together and we unanimously decided that we did not care for the duo nor their plight. The venue did not help as it was difficult to see the staging. It would have worked much better with a tiered seating arrangement for if you we not in the first row, you missed much. The nudity was thrown in just for the effect and did little to forward the dull plot. One would have expected much more continuity and talent from Brooklyn, NY.

play ball!
by Evelyn Blum Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Was very entertained and surprised at this one. The story was complex and well carried out. I saw this cause I was pushed out of a sold out other show. I am glad I got to see it!

Powerful and gripping.
by David Trudeau Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Even though we knew this would sell out and reserved, we were late enough to have bad seats in the back on the far side and had to stand to see much of the action. No matter. Powerful acting makes this sad story about two very bizarre people so believable, so heart wrenching, so engaging.

Solid, worth seeing
by Sam Choo Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Performances were strong of a script that seemed written just to appeal to Fringe fans. Simple characters with deeply-flawed pasts created depth for Kennedy, and Venturi brought a real emotional depth to Lizard Girl. Waddell's exploration into the meaning of life would have been more meaningful with more subtlety, and the story could have saved some surprises with less blatant foreshadowing. But, what you see is what you'll get - in the reviews, too. Good show for those who are seeking a quirky Fringe drama.

Another five
by Curt Lund Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A magnificent performance of a remarkable text. Mannerisms, costume, period vernacular, turn-of-phrase, every little detail was clever and moving -- and the whole is still somehow greater than the sum of its parts. Scanning the rave audience and press reviews, there's not much left unsaid, but I'm happy to add my voice (and kitties) to the chorus.

by Kassie Church Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I liked this. The story was good, the acting was good. But it wasn't great. There were a couple points where I thought the story was forced. But, if you go, get there early. About half is performed lying or sitting on the ground and you can't see the actors from over half the seats in the theater.

by Ed Reilly Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Charged dialogue and performances combined with a great minimal set make this a "Fringe must see"! Thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Theatre serves beers too. Go get soused.

The VERY BEST show this year!
by Chet Taylor Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
OK, so I haven't seen all 168 shows, but I find it impossible to believe that there's another one out there that's any better than this one. Compelling story, and well-written dialogue, and to top it off - two of the finest acting performances you will see on any stage in the Twin Cities this year. How lucky we are to have the Fringe bring to us such riveting performances in such intimate spaces.

Almost a grand slam
by Charles Ellenbogen Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Venturi seemed a beat behind which made it sound more like she was saying lines than words. The two together are intense and do well with an at times unsubtle script. Sightlines are terrible. Sit close or stand in the back. Powerful evening, regardless of whether you're a baseball fan.

by Jillian Michaelree Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Just goes to show, you don't need 2.5 hours to tell a moving story. Everything about this production was top notch. I love when historical characters are given the ability to be 3-D instead of reading like a wikipedia page. One element not praised yet: the costume design was amazing... telling of the era without being over the top. I want to be the lizard princess for my next theme party.

Fantastic drama!
by David Leddon Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A fantastic show for all of the reasons previously stated. Deserves all of the praise and critical raves it has received. My guess is that this show will be full for all of its performances, so you want to line up early for this one.

Great tragedy!
by Charles Steffey Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The story of an aging ballplayer and the woman who wants to help him and change her life is well-crafted. Rube is powerless over his addiction, but he is also fully aware that his time as a star has passed and that there is little he can do to change that even if his efforts to stop drinking were successful. We can identify with both characters in this tragedy.

Good, straight drama!
by Vicki Joan Keck Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
With all the solo shows and fringey comedies and dramas out there, sometimes I long for some real theatre, with characters, plot and terrific acting. This wonderfully fits that bill! As my seventh show of the day at 10 pm on a Saturday, I hoped it would be riveting enough to keep me awake. It was and it did; Wonderful script, empathetic characters, emminently watchable actors. So, so good!

Not to be Missed Drama
by Zannah Martin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Reptile woman and drunk? Don't be misled. This is the best drama of the fringe!!! A wonderful script with superb acting. James Kennedy transports us in time, yet we know this kid. So believable. Ariana Venturi is equally talented. She delivers a character who has been knocked around all her life with empathy, rather than pathos. Don't miss this one!

by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I would still be applauding if I were not writing this review. Jonathan Goldberg, a standing ovation for you, sir. Ariana Venturi and James Kennedy, perfection in acting. I wanted this to never end, and yet the length is perfect. Fringers, this is the one you won't regret! One tip: Viewing is a problem as the actors are on the ground frequently, so take the front row, or check your sightlines before choosing a seat.

I see sellouts coming
by Anthony Paul Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A great offering of raw theatre. For the Shelby Company fans out there, this is not quite as dark as Winnemucca but certainly as curious and as engaging a piece. Strong characters drew the near-sellout crowd in right away. By the time the "meta" arrived we were all there hook, line, and sinkerball. Fantastic work by all involved.

Rings true
by Bob Flynn Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A story that rings as true in 2011 as it did in 1914. GREAT performances and spot-on direction.

A Classic Rube
by Jon Skaalen Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I saw three great shows in a row at HUGE on opening night, including this presumably fictional story by two gifted actors who transformed the tiny stage into a cheap hotel room 98 years ago. What do we see? The great baseball player Rube Waddell, at the end of a career shortened by carousing, a temperamental, possessed, hurting, simple man in a captivating performance by James B. Kennedy. Matching him was the visiting Reptile Girl, whose multiple scaly skins were donned, shed, repaired, inhabited by Ariana Venturi. They are both trying to find their way to the next step of their lives; will it be a match made in baseball heaven or circus world, or will they destroy each other in the process? Totally gripping – a far more real story, with far more heart, than anything the Twins have to offer this year. The beer is cheaper and better, too. See it.

A lot of content packed into 55 minutes
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is a rich and satisfying script for a short Fringe show. I left wishing it could be developed into a full-length play. The characters are touching and memorable, and the performances are skilled and charismatic. A high quality show in the Fringe's great new HUGE Improv venue.

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Thursday, 8/410:00 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/610:00 p.m. 
Sunday, 8/78:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, 8/98:30 p.m. 
Sunday, 8/142:30 p.m. 

HUGE Theater venue information
3037 Lyndale Ave. S

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