by Paul Sussman
The Rogue Festival is here! This is the last of several Rogue Performer Preview articles that have been going up over the last few weeks. You will be able to find all of them, along with a preview article about the Festival itself, in our Rogue Festival category and you can find more info on our Rogue Festival event page over on KRL News and Reviews. Tickets for the Rogue Festival can be purchased on their website and you can find this year’s schedule.
I’m really excited to be performing at the Rogue Festival for the first time! My solo piece Beyond Belief took shape over the last year as I mulled over a couple of related themes. In the wake of election chaos, global warming, and other polarizing issues, I (like a lot of people) have been trying to figure out Why THOSE People Believe Such CRAZY Things… It’s easy to point fingers, apply pop psychology, and mock. Does that help? As a character in my piece says: “Judging people never changed anyone’s mind. Why people believe what they believe is a key mystery of our time. The future of the world may depend on it!” I think he’s right (well, I did write the script).
At the same time, I had a homework assignment in my Spanish conversation class: “Have you ever had a paranormal experience?” (Sounds pretty similar in Spanish.) I’m a skeptical guy, but I re-discovered a childhood memory that I’ve never been able to explain. Putting the two together, the outline of a piece began to take vague shape in my mind. As we all know in creative work, it never turns out how you think!
Early on, my director (David Ford) gave me a great piece of advice: Everybody’s writing and opining on why polarized Americans believe such different things. Unless you have something really different and brilliant to say (that would also work from the stage!), why don’t you focus on yourself? Have you ever believed something that you look back on today and ask, WTF!?
And indeed, there was… stuff. The piece is built around some crazy things I’ve believed – premonitions of catastrophe, an 8 year old’s view of God from the dungeon of Sunday School, an ill-fated love triangle that flowed right out of an LSD trip’s revelation of Truth. I don’t hit you over the head about the state of our world today, but I hope the piece gets people thinking in a different way. And that they enjoy the fun!
Tickets: $8 at the door or online at fresnoroguefestival.com, where you’ll find more details about my performances and other Rogue shows.
Venue: Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive, Fresno
Sunday March 5 @ 5:00 p.m.
Thursday March 9 @ 8:30 p.m.
Friday March 10 @ 10:00 p.m.
Saturday March 11 @ 5:00 p.m.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.