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Action Movie II: Episode One

a Comedy
CATEGORY :
by Daniel May

COMPANY : Dad's Garage Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Dad's Garage Theater [WEBSITE]
ID# 31

SHOWING : June 22, 2001 - August 11, 2001

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

In the spirit of Speed 2, MI2, and every James Bond film made after 1980, Dad's Garage is cashing in on our biggest hit ever and making a sequel... or should we say... prequel... we should say prequel. Be amazed by the boat chase, cheer for the lesbians, and watch evil try to take over the world. Action Movie II is bigger, stronger and faster than anything else on the Atlanta stages. Just try and stop it.

Produced in association with the Defiant Theatre, Chicago. While we're doing the prequel, they'll be doing the sequel, see both, see one... well, if you see just one, come see ours...


CAST & CREW LIST
Songs Peter Hauenstein
Writer Daniel May
Fight Choreographer Jason Armit
Director Sean Daniels
Puppets Chris Brown
Lighting Design Elisabeth Cooper
Beat Pimp Travis Daniels
Sil K Jones Saila
Doughboy Jason Armit
Alec Smarty Chris Blair
Hardgod Damon Boggess
Defenestrator Christian Danley
Super Fu Jones Nick Few
Arab #1, JJ Banks, Thor, Stupid Guy, Dru Z Gillespie
Villanette Alison Hastings
Lumpy, Synonymous Botch Maia Knispel
Kreegar Daniel May
Lectra Cordian Stacy Melich
Richard Garner Scott Warren
Secretary, Drug Guard #1 Sloane Warren
Master SPIT TAKE Matt "Lucky" Yates
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Big Fun, Big Laughs, Big Fros!
by John Q. Theatregoer
Friday, July 6, 2001
4.0
Okay, JHodge, lighten up! This is not high art. But neither is most theatre anymore. At least at Dad's Garage you can buy a bucket of beer and just sit back and laugh at the silly people. What a release!! I LOVED this production from top to bottom!! And another thing . . . Damon "the jackhammer" Boggess is my hero! Any criticism of him is utterly asinine. He and all the other collaborators on Action Movie II: Espisode One deserve a big round of applause. You ROCK!!!! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Prequel True To Form
by JHodge
Wednesday, July 4, 2001
3.0
Remember when the "Star Wars" Prequel arrived, and there was the requisite marketing overplay and hype, followed by the triumphant opening of one of the highest-grossing films of all time? Remember seeing it? All the ins and outs and wild cross-referencing, feeling a sense of deja-vu as characters you grew up with, now portrayed by younger and, ostensibly, prettier actors, lived the back story you'd always wondered about? Remember feeling that something was fundamentally missing that kept it irrevokably seperate from the original? Well, ladies and gentlemen, you can experience that cocktail mix of anticipation, action, and an unsettling feeling of mediocrity with Dad's Garage's production of Action Movie II: Episode One.
Written by Daniel May, a fine actor now dipping his quill into a new pursuit, and directed with frenetic "look at this!" excitement by Sean Daniels, "Episode One" picks up 20 years prior to the "story" of the hit original. I'd delve into the details of the plot, but just like any action movie worth its salt, nobody's going for plot.
Our heroes are Damon Bogess, Jason Armit, Lucky Yates, Chris Blair, Nick Few, and Salia, stopping the evil forces of, well, everyone else. You can tell they're the good guys because they're the only ones with character development. May prefers to rely on the mid-20th century film concept of good-is-complex-but-evil-is-just-evil. And even in comedy as broad as this, you feel the void left behind. Ironically, the point of "Star Wars: Episode One" was to explain what led to its central villain's turn against the Jedi, while "AM:E1" uses it as an excuse to enjoy blaxploitation movie humor.
Some rise above the material, like Stacy Melich as villainous Lectra, preening and conspiring like the Queen of Outer Space. It takes an inspired performer to be that bad. Nick Few, overall, does the same, crossing Jimmie Walker and Richard Roundtree for a creation that is resoundingly unique.
By and large, the cast has a series of false starts and never really takes off. Saila appears to be muttering her lines to herself, keeping them secret from the audience. Sloane Warren follows her lead, so make friends with the people in the front row and find out what her dialouge contributions were after the show. Alison Hastings leads a crew of actors wishing they had more to do than die repeatedly, while Scott Warren moves his lips as people around him sing. Music played, and yet no actual sound came from his lips. And Daniel May shows true humility by giving himself the least-developed character in the piece. A valient effort, but it only serves to further perplex the viewer.
Two things stayed with me after seeing the show: The first is that Damon Boggess should take a break from playing such broadly drawn roles and take a subtle character before audiences forget he can play it. The second, and this is what May and Daniels appear to have forgotten, and what killed Leslie Nielson's career: Parody is harder than a legitimate work. "Action Movie", the original, worked because the performers, writer, and director worked so hard to sell a new concept. The actors know they're in a highly anticipated hit, and they behave accordingly. Less is at risk, so they don't try as hard. And with potshots at gays, GA Shake, and ethnic minorities, "AM:E1" takes the easy route every time in a production that is in itself shooting to be inventive, but no more sumptuous than eye candy. And that won't sell in a genre that has seen it all.
At least they killed off Jar-Jar. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Not Quite up to the First
by Carry On Critiquing
Friday, June 29, 2001
3.0
I was a huge fan of Dad's Garage's original production of "Action Movie: The Play," and so I was very much looking forward to the prequel. Unfortunately, "Action Movie II: Episode One" doesn't quite live up to its predecessor, though it's still a lot of fun.

One of the running gags in the original "Action Movie" was the over-abundance of backstory...at one point, the character "Stone Hardgod" interrupted another character's explanation with "That's about all the exposition I can take!" The biggest problem with the prequel is just the opposite. Little or no clue is given as to the characters' history. Instead, playwright Daniel May seems to take it for granted that the audience remembers the original "Action Movie" and is familiar the characters' pasts (or futures, since this takes place over 20 years before the first play).

In the original, even the minor characters (such as the secondary villains "Pike Calypso" and "Poison") were clearly defined individuals (stereotypical, perhaps, but clearly defined). By contrast, this show's supporting thugs ("Villainette" and "Synonymous Botch") are vague ciphers, despite the efforts of the very talented Alison Hastings and Maia Knispel, respectively.

One character's fate is left as a dangling plot thread...although this character did reappear under a different name in "Action Movie: The Play," the only clue that it's the same person is that it's played by the same performer. (And with one other major role being recast, and several stars of the original playing different roles, this clue isn't as clear as it might be.) I would have preferred it if the play had provided a more concrete indication of what happens to this character...not necessarily spelling it out for the audience, but at least providing some hint about the connection between the two plays.

However, I don't want this review to sound totally negative. "Action Movie II" does have a lot to recommend it, most obviously the energetic, charismatic cast. The puppetry of Chris Brown & Lucky Yates combine to make "Master Spitake" (a cross between Yoda and the old monk from TV's "Kung Fu") one of the funniest mentors ever. And the elaborately choreographed fight scenes, with several small skirmishes occurring simultaneously, require several viewings to fully appreciate.

All in all, "Action Movie II: Episode One" is a very enjoyable play...it just falls a wee bit short of its predecessor.
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Action Movie satisfies...ya dig?
by tjthomas
Saturday, June 23, 2001
5.0
Action Movie is filled with so many cliches that it borders on the absurd...wait...borders? No, it is completely absurd, with actors gleefully overplaying their roles. The fight scenes are incredibly overelaborate, with characters literally leaping over one another, and, in one truly hysterical moment--playing rock, paper, scissors. Finally, an Atlanta play that knows how to have a good time. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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