February 2, 2009

Snowdance helps out-of-towners feel at home

John Adams, portraying Racine’s long-loved Monument,
is surrounded by the Snowdance ensemble, with
Rick Ditter bringing the ceremonial Snowdance Snowcone.

Here's the dirty little secret about the Snowdance 10-minute Comedy Festival at the Sixth Street Theatre: The laughs don't stop every ten minutes.

Ten plays, each ten minutes long. That's what I signed up for. Nobody told me there'd be comedy between the plays, supposedly to introduce each new play but also an excuse to hold up a funhouse mirror to Racine; inside jokes that only Racinians would get.

Would you believe that just one day after the City Council picked an interim mayor, the Snowdance actors made light of the situation? Well, they did. And we all laughed.

My favorite between-the-plays skits was a series of suggestions to help an out-of-towner feel at home in Racine. Performed around a living version of the statue in Monument Square -- who is that, anyway? -- actors ran in and out, declaiming these helpful tips:
  • If your idea of a good pickup line is “Case, Park, or Horlick,” you might be a Racinian
  • If you know the names of five Piggly Wiggly employees, you might be a Racinian
  • If you get up earlier on the Fourth of July than you do on Christmas, you might be a Racinian
  • If your friends still talk about how awesome Chi-Chi’s was, you might be a Racinian
  • If you have fond childhood memories of swimming in Lake Michigan, and you haven’t been in the lake since, you might be a Racinian
  • If you spent more on your high school prom than on your education afterward, you might be a Racinian
  • If you had your wedding registry at Seven Mile Fair, you might be a Racinian
As for the plays themselves, you'll have to take my word for it: they're side-splittingly funny. I don't want to give anything away, but think about this for a while: What would you say to your wife after she stabs you in the stomach with a steak knife? Hint: It'll really make her mad!

The best part of Snowdance plays is the 10 minutes part. There's no build-up; they just start right in the middle of the action, bang! The worst part of the festival is that there are just 19 performances, and then it's over for another year. The first four performances of the 2009 festival already are history -- all sellouts -- and many of the coming weekend shows are all-but sold out, too. The good news is that Snowdance added three Wednesday shows this year -- Feb. 4, 11 and 18 -- and, best yet, three Memorial Hall shows with plenty of seats, on Feb. 21 and 22.

If you miss it, you won't forgive yourself. And you'll always wonder why everyone else is walking around with a smile, even the guy with a steak knife sticking out of his stomach.

Need more information? Check out our earlier story, listing all ten of this year's plays and their authors, with brief outline, and all the date and time necessities for reservations.

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