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Clowning Around on the Briny Sea

Quasimondo’s ‘The Nautical Tragedy of Dick III’ sets sail

Aug. 16, 2016
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The Nautical Tragedy of Dick III

Who—or what—is a “Quasimondo?” No, not a character in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Well, this is the right time for you to know that Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre is a Milwaukee theater company that writes, produces and stages its own works, doing so with a particular emphasis on breaking new theatrical ground and involving several different performance and visual arts; better put, perhaps by themselves as “an ensemble of multidisciplinary artists committed to creating original work through inter-arts collaboration.” Quasimondo blends varying “modes of expression” and bucks theatrical conventions in order to provide their audiences with “innovative work that is aural, kinetic, visual and visceral.” All those attributes will be evident in their upcoming production.

Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre’s artistic director Brian Rott and associate artistic director Jessi Miller collaborate to bring the theatergoing public The Nautical Tragedy of Dick III. Rott and Miller are, in fact, Quasimondo’s cofounders who have worked together through five successful seasons thus far; under their leadership, Quasimondo has collaborated in past productions with many local art scene staples—the Milwaukee Art Museum, Villa Terrace, Wisconsin Historical Society and Old World Wisconsin, to name a few. Last year, Quasimondo’s Kamikaze Cutesauce: Cosplay Club was performed at New York’s International Fringe Festival.

So, what of The Nautical Tragedy of Dick III? Not wishing to give away too many details, Quasimondo explains just enough about this new production to peak your interest and curiosity. Set in the epic, colorful and pirate-filled Age of Sail, we find ourselves aboard the Seaharse where we encounter her master, Captain Richard II Hooks, and “marauding radicals, ravenous cannibals [and] pirating queens.” As is their wont, Rott and Miller utilize a multi-discipline approach in telling their tale of “misfit mariners and twisted missions”—the production includes puppetry, clowns, dance and song. 

Clowns and Puppets? Indubitably! Rott has been recognized for his clown work as well as his puppet adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (acclaimed as one of the “most daring performances of 2014” by the Milwaukee Theater Examiner). Jessi Miller has taught clowning and has previously directed Americlown—an exposé of U.S. Homeland Security.

Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre’s production of The Nautical Tragedy of Dick III runs  Aug. 25-Sept. 10 (the Aug. 27 performance takes place at the MKE Fringe Fest and the Aug. 31 show is Pay-What-You-Can). Apart from the Aug. 27 show, the performances will be in Studio Q upstairs from Company Brewing, 731 E. Center St. For more information, call Quasimondo at 414-702-0392 or visit quasimondo.org.

Theatre Happening:

A sure sign of a work’s success is how many versions of it have arisen since its debut. That being the case, The Odd Couple by American screenwriter, author and playwright Neil Simon (b. 1927) is by all accounts a massive success story. The 1965 stage original won four Tony Awards; it spawned a highly acclaimed feature film (with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon) in 1968 and a 1970-75 TV series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Stage revivals are aplenty and, indeed, the clash of slob and neat freak is a timeless one perfectly relatable by so many of us. SummerStage’s production of this Neil Simon classic takes place at Kettle Moraine State Forest’s Lapham Peak (W329 N846 County Highway C, Delafield), Aug. 25-Sept. 10. 

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