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October 24, 2006

Theater Review - ’Ka-Blam’ has trust issues

Ka-Blam: Kristie Rolape, Kyle Ware, Abigail Bailey Maupin, Gregory Maupin in “Ka-Blam!” Photo by Brian BufkinLe Petomane Theatre Ensemble just might be the most avant-garde local theater group. Its namesake, Joseph Pujol (aka “le Petomane”), performed at the Moulin Rouge. His act? Using his abnormal anus to pass flatus in unusual ways. The group admires Pujol because he took what talent he had and ran with it. They create plays as an ensemble, relying heavily on broad physical comedy. Captain Ka-Blam (Kyle Ware) is a naïve superhero with a sidekick, Kris (Abigail Maupin). Imagine the dynamic duo, but both resembling Robin more than Batman. They fight the evil Fearmonger (Gregory Maupin) and rescue the intrepid ace reporter, Carol (Kristie Rolape). In a series of skits, the group reenacts Ka-Blam’s most beloved comic strips in an homage to 1940s radio and comics. The back-story device is fresh: The actors mime their roles as their voices are heard on an old-fashioned radio. Ka-Blam trusts everyone, and everyone trusts him. As Ka-Blam proclaims, “Fear knows no trust, and trust knows no fear,” the audience, and the other characters, are baffled.     In “Antitrust,” Ka-Blam loses his soul to a tennis ball the Fearmonger insidiously juggles in one hand. He wonders where trust resides without a soul, and is reduced to spouting Bukowski-like poetry in a seedy bar.     The troupe brilliantly portrays comic-book panels in freeze-frame. Ware and Gregory Maupin are elegant in their slow-motion fight scenes. Abigail Maupin is catlike in her dual roles (as Kris and her alter ego, the evil Miss Psych-out). Kristie Rolape’s facial expressions are appropriately over-the-top in reaction to the bizarre happenings. Ware cleverly portrays his character as the ultimate hero. Gregory Maupin is frightening as the evil Fearmonger. In the hilarious finale, the troupe dances to a Britney Spears song while throwing punches.     As a bonus, the troupe presents Steve Ochs’ short film, “Le Petomane: Parti Avec Le Vent,” a biography of you-know-who, the original performance artist.

Important Clarification

By gmaupin

It seems necessary to clarify, at least online if not in next week's issue: while Abigail & I are indeed the Artistic Directors of the company, we are emphatically not the directors of "Ka-Blam!" - the entire ensemble participated in the creation and direction of the show. We have yet to use a director in any of our productions, relying instead on the good eyes and ears of the performer/creators and whatever Outside Eyes we invite in to watch and help us navigate as we approach opening night.

Unless otherwise noted in the program, it is safe to assume that in a Le Petomane production, "created by," "directed by" and "performed by" will be followed by one group of names.

Thank you,

Gregory Maupin
Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble

Thanks for the clarification.

By LEO Weekly (not verified)

Thanks for the clarification.