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BWW Review: CONVERSATIONS WITH CLAY WOMAN Offers Up A Particular Brand Of Off-beat Comedy For Tweed Theaterworks' “Sundays At Seven” Series At Pangea


BWW Review: CONVERSATIONS WITH CLAY WOMAN Offers Up A Particular Brand Of Off-beat Comedy For Tweed Theaterworks' “Sundays At Seven” Series At Pangea

Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow Tribe! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in cabareT to bring you all the T!

Alt Cabaret, performance art, avant-garde theatre, improvisation, devised performances - are all legitimate terms in the world of the performing arts my pets. Each and every one of them, almost without fail, give Bobby a headache. So when our boss told us we were reviewing someone called Claywoman at Pangea on Sunday night (and then explained exactly what the F'Bomb was a Claywoman) our rainbow-colored eyes must've rolled so loudly they could be heard all the way to Claywoman's home in the Mirillion Galaxy. That, BTW, is the premise of Claywoman (the creation of in-character improviser Michael Cavadias) -- a 500 million-year-old extraterrestrial who is just queer for planet earth. In his Alt-Drag personae, Cavadias has developed a real following, as Sunday night's sold-out show demonstrated. Presented as part of "Sundays at Seven," a performance series created and hosted by TWEED TheaterWork's Artistic Director Kevin Malony - who introduced the evening with a short video that gave newbies our first intro to Claywoman. The video (click here to view) showed Claywoman - a lady who seems to be literally made of clay, judging by Ruthie Weems' expert make-up of hands and face, costumed in burlap rags salvaged from the original production of Fiddler and sporting a mass of matted, dirty gray dreadlocks, slowly meandering the streets of New York... VERY slowly -- she's 500 million after all.

In the video, Claywoman explains her love of Earth and all the dear little, short-lived people crawling over it far too fast, usually in crisis, and making it difficult for her to find a crash pad for her sleepovers. At the close of the video, the lady herself entered Pangea from the back of the house and, stooped over, using a cane for support, struggled her way to the stage and into her seat, an effort that elicited her first round of applause. From there the format of the evening was an oration by Claywoman catching us all up on what she'd been up to, her travel woes, and her discovery of something called a Super Bowl, followed by an interview portion conducted by the evening's guest, Drew Droege, ending with moderated questions from the audience from which the star would riff in freeform improv. At the start, Claywoman had her ducks in a row, as far as her storytelling went, and elicited plenty of laughs all along the premise of her world (or Galactic) view as a ½ Billion-year-old woman and the things we earthlings have gotten up to, as she has watched us evolve from the lower orders. As with all good improv, the job is to magnify the circumstances and observations to a level that remains familiar but that illuminates the issues with ridiculousness that we, the audience, are asked to buy into enough that we are surprised by the even more ridiculous pay-offs. The very existence of Claywoman is that ready-made magnifier, and in the hands of Cavadias delivering stories from Claywoman's life and trips to earth (the dinosaurs had such beautiful singing voices) many a laugh is landed expertly, and a couple of bonafide home runs were hit. This talk was followed by the interview of Claywoman by Drew Droege, a veteran of The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade.

BWW Review: CONVERSATIONS WITH CLAY WOMAN Offers Up A Particular Brand Of Off-beat Comedy For Tweed Theaterworks' “Sundays At Seven” Series At Pangea With two seemingly expert, experienced improv artists working together, one would expect a fine array of "yes and" play that would yield symphonic-like riffs. Whether we were there on an off night, or if this particular pairing (the interviewer changes from show to show) failed to find a chemical rhythm, is difficult to say. Improv is tricky on its best day and it is easy to walk down blind alleys that can kill the follow-through. Landing some nice laughs here and there but with some dead air pauses for consideration as they went along did not lead to the pair building any real momentum. Nattering on about their mutual friend Joan in a mundane back and forth about mundane circumstances with no real landmines going off for them (or poor Joan,) and then leading into talk about her friendship with Karl Maldon was a solid 5 minutes that yielded nothing - an eternity in comedy time. Now, my dear ones, laughs are not always the high watermark of improv, but holding the interest of your audience is, and with too much idle chit chat happening on stage, there came a wave of seat shiftings and yawn stiflings - at least from our vantage point at the back of the house. With the audience Q&A portion of the evening, things picked up a bit, here and there, though Claywoman was thrown a comedy softball when, after telling the story of her violent birth, a patron called out, "What's your relationship like with your parents now?" and Clywoman answered with a resounding "Oh they're dead," squashing that gift deader than mommy and daddy.

In the final analysis, there were members of her SOLD OUT audience who really seemed to enjoy CONVERSATIONS WITH CLAY WOMAN and she is certainly a different kind of experience from stand-up or even improv performances at UCB. One could definitely call her off-beat but, on this particular night, the whole thing lacked any kind of rhythm, and for your rainbow reviewer we found most of the evening to be more like a reading of the Dead Sea Scrolls - a few laughs here and there, but with pages missing; and so, we must give CONVERSATIONS WITH CLAY WOMAN 2 ½ Rainbows out of 5.

But Heck - what do we know eh? Check out Claywoman for yourself and see if she is your cup of tea.

Claywoman Has Her Insta: HERE
Check Out Her YouTubes: HERE
Tweet Her Twitters: HERE
And Followe Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE

The Tweed Theater Has Its Webby: HERE

For All Things Pangea Go: HERE

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