Wrath of Con 2: Into the the Dorkness Exceeds Expectations!

Dad’s Garage Theater Company Premieres the Godfather II of Convention-Themed Plays

The sequel to 2012’s Wrath of Con blends comedy with raw emotion to recast the story of convention goers as a tale of generational shift and succeeds on every level.

Photo Courtesy of Dad’s Garage

Dad’s Garage Theater Company, arguably Atlanta’s leader in comedy theatrics, has changed a bit since 2012. So has the convention scene in Atlanta.  The original 2012 Wrath of Con represented a world where “The Con,” a fictional analog to Dragon Con, was a place for outsiders to find common ground and escape the world. “The Con” of Wrath of Con: Into Dorkness is a place where those who have been attending for decades are confronted by the changing younger demographic. The younger characters are there for immersive gaming, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Anime; while the older characters are there to recapture memories of The Greatest American Hero and Deep Space 9. This generational clash is a theme through the play and offers the best laughs and the most touching moments.

This is a play for adults, by adults.  The language is rough, the situations can be sexual. It is clearly intended, as most shows at Dad’s, for those old enough to vote. 

Writing on the play was begun by John Carr, Ed Morgan, and Z Gillispie in early January. The three produced a tight and hilarious script. The locale is a convention, but the story is universal enough that a theater goer would not need to see the original production or even be a convention veteran to appreciate the play.  It draws specifically on events and convention situations that were not addressed in the first play, makes subtle changes to the characters that are returning to address the passing of years, and introduces new characters organically into the situations.

After the show I heard one of the actors credit Dan Triandiflou’s direction for bringing out his character’s pathos without stopping the comedy.  And, from the audience we saw the effect of solid directing all night.  Each character is given a chance to bring out a purpose in their action, and an authenticity in their performance that never hits buffoonery, except in the character of Eric, where the buffoonery is the message.

The cast includes two actors returning from the summer production of the 2012 play: Taylor Roy as the aging Hank and Ronnie Johnson-Lopez as the unstoppable party-animal Eric.  Hank’s neice, who is attending The Con for the first time, is played by Hannah Morris.  A new African-American family is introduced with Avery Sharp as father Tim, an eternal member who had been coming longer than Hank, and Anthony Nash as his son, who wishes to go by his online name of “Switch-Knight.”  Rounding out the cast are Justin “4th ” Geer, and Karen Cassady playing mulitple characters.

Before discussing the action of the show, a special note must be made about Dad’s longtime performer Karen Cassady. Playing multiple roles she excelled as the Sipowicz-like character who works for the hotel while pursuing a secret cabal who controls the convention.  She had the audience in raucous laughter with each of her characters. If any complaint could be made about the show, it is this, her other main character, April, was not fully developed and ended up seeming like a trophy or “MacGuffin.” But, the real praise is for how easily she switched between characters.

To the left of the stage, the audience’s left, not stage left, was a monitor that displayed everything from the opening Star Wars-based scroll to various scene change notes, to fake commercials in the style of  Dragon Con’s DCTV and finally, to the closing credits.  The credits are important, remember them.

After the Star Wars scroll tells everyone to watch the play, the cast came out for a song we can assume was called “It’s the Con, Say what?” with each of the leads singing a few versus and with a hilarious line about what is most important at a con for an adult: “disposible income.”  We then are re-aquainted with Hank and introduced to his niece Sara.  Hank wants to show Sara “his” convention, while Sara wants to create new memories. This starts the struggle between them, and is a pre-cursor to Hank’s eventual decline into despair that the things he loves most about the convention are fading memories of favorite shows and experiences, which are also becoming fading memories. Sara is also here to meet a gaming-chat crush.

Tim and Switch reveal their own generational struggle.  For Tim the convention was a place of inclusion and a place of friendship and extended family. He wishes to bring his son to the convention to give it to him as a legacy, and to give his son the chance to find his own way in the con. But, Switch is here for gaming and not Battlestar Galactica.  Switch is a hardcore gamer who struggles with discomfort  in the real world. He is also here to meet his gaming-crush who, to no one’s surprise, is Sara.

Then there is Eric. Eric was introduced in the original Wrath of Con as clueless and wasted.  Eric is reintroduced as wasted and clueless, but this time he carries a secret.

To find out how each of the characters resolves their burning questions, one must attend the play.  This is a review not a spoiler. But, all actors bring their own vision to the characters and bring out the laughs and the feelings in the audience from the opening song to the curtain call.

But, there are some set pieces that bear calling out:

  • Young Sara finding the freedom to curse in front of her uncle, finally ending with “Turtle Dick” had the audience cheering
  • A brief image of Doctor Who’s Tardis with a Lyft sign combined reality and fantasy and showed how attendees arrive
  • Hank’s viral video of his breakdown at the masquerade
  • Young Sara asking who William Shatner was
  • Switch and Sara discovering their true relationship
  • J.K. Rowling re-writing the world
  • Tim’s first costume

There is a brilliant longer segment where Switch is stuck in an elevator due to his choice to “go up to go down” while Sara is moving towards him through a sky bridge traffic jam.  The entire scene is done in the motif of Ken Burn’s Civil War. All of the dialogue is done via texts such as, “My dearest Switch, I long to find respite in your arms again.”  (Note: that might be the wrong verb, but that certainly captures the feel.)

And finally, remember when closing credits were mentioned?  This is where they fit into the review. This is a play with a post-credit scene. The post-credit scene was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on stage.  It was a sendup of the MCU, the Matrix, Kill Bill Part I, and so many other action movies carefully choreographed by Kevin Stilwell. There is nothing more that I can say that would not be a spoiler except that Eric’s secret is revealed.

In summary, if you are a nerd who has attended conventions, you will love Wrath of Con 2. If you are not a nerd who attends conventions and likes a good story about generational shift and love to laugh, you will love Wrath of Con 2.


Wrath of Con 2: Into Dorkness runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. from September 6 to October 5.

Where:

Dad’s Garage and Theater Company
569 Ezzard St. SE
Atlanta,GA 30312
PHONE (404) 523-3141


Disclaimer: Dan Carroll is the Spokesperson and Media Engagement Director for Dragon Con, but he has also been writing theater and comedy reviews since 2011 and keeps a wall between his Dragon Con responsibilities and his reviews. He loves both Dragon Con and live performances.

 

 

Scott Adsit: At home at Dad’s Garage

Frequently Dad’s Garage Theater Company welcomes visiting performers, and this weekend they welcomed Scott Adsit. Many people know Adsit from his work on 30 Rock as Pete Hornberger, his role as Baymax in Big Hero 6, his Adult Swim Shows Moral Orel and Frankenhole, or his ubiquitous presence on TV as that “guy from that show.” However, Adsit began in live comedy in Chicago with Second City and loves returning to his live theater roots. He particularly loves working with Dad’s Garage because he loves “going to places and doing improv with people who love it.”

I got to see Scott August 9 for his Friday night shows.

See Scott Adsit Live at Dad’s Garage August 10, 2019.

Tonight’s performance showed just how well he worked with local performers. Alongside the local cast, Adsit moved with lightning speed as they created comedy live. Improv has no scripts or preparation. Adsit rattled out one-liners, comebacks, and navigated through ridiculous situations. He took to the stage with comfort, as if he was grabbing lunch with an old friend and picked up a conversation that had just been interrupted a few days back. Then took the audience up on stage with him.

Dad’s mainstay Whittney Millsap hosted the evening. Tom Rittenhouse, Megan Leahy, Anna Giles, Maged Roushdi, Freddy Boyd, and Cole Wadsworth provided the laughs for the audience. Both Giles and Roushdi were coming from the recent revival of Wrath of Con at Dad’s Garage. And, because Scott Adsit has been included in a character in the Marvel Universe, he was also joined on stage briefly by Dradpool, portrayed by costumer Ryan Taylor.

As Adsit recently told this writer, improv is “writing on water.” It’s difficult to capture individual beats because the comedy was so fast, and one joke melted away from memory as we begin to laugh at the next. Through the entire show, the audience laughed convulsively at every gag that worked and occasionally groaned when a bit fell flat. Improv, they say, is about the process and not the joke.

The performance was exhilarating, and the energy was so contagious! I chose to stay for the second show after filing this review.

Dad’s Garage Theater Company has been called Atlanta’s premiere improv company. Established in 1995, the company has stayed together during moves and growth and has built a new home for itself in an old church on Ezzard Street, just off Edgewood Avenue. Tonight’s show clearly showed how tight a company they are.

There are two more shows scheduled for Saturday night. If you enjoy comedy and laughing, you owe it to yourself to get down to Dad’s and see Scott Adsit.

See Scott Adsit Live at Dad’s Garage August 10, 2019.

Find out more:

https://dadsgarage.com/

Dad’s Garage
569 Ezzard St. SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
(404) 523-3141

Written in Water: Scott Adsit on the Nature of Life Performing Livedan

Arguably the leading Improv Theater in Atlanta, Dad’s Garage is hosting beloved comedian and actor Scott Adsit on August 9/10 for a special round of Improv. Scott Adsit is a versatile and proven entertainer, from his time as Pete on 30 Rock to his Adult Swim creations (Morel Orel and Frankenhole) to his turn as the voice of beloved Baymax from Big Hero 6. And, yes, that is just scratching the surface of his work that often has him called “that guy from that show.” Before he was making TV and films, he was a sketch comedian, earning his place in comedy along the likes of Tina Fey, his 30 Rock co-star.

Scott Adsit

He comes to Atlanta to return to his roots as a live performer. If past events at Dad’s are any benchmark, we can expect a lot of laughs. We sat down with him this week to talk a little bit about who he is as a performer and a nerd and what we can expect to see at his shows this weekend.

Hey, Scott, how are you today?

Alright, how are you?

Doing good, just waiting for you to come to Atlanta next week.

OmG that is not an exciting place you are in.

You were Baymax. Thank you. That’s not a question.

Oh wow.

Anytime I get to talk to someone who makes me cry, it makes me happy. Do you find you are identified differently by different fan bases because your career is so diverse?

Yeah, yeah! I can when someone is approaching me on the street, which properties they know me from. It’s about half and half between the two biggies: 30 Rock and Big Hero 6. But occasionally I will have someone come up and ask me about Moral Orel or Frankenhole or Mister Show. Or some tiny role where I am recognizable because someone might recognize my face, like the tiny role in the Italian Job. I can generally spot them when they are coming up.

We are not here to talk specifically about your film and TV work, but that you are coming to Atlanta to perform at Dad’s Garage. You come from that live performance background. What is it about live performing that excites you and brings you back to the stage?

Well, it’s kind of a cliché, but the immediate response you get to what you are doing. That is the most exciting thing about it. Also, there is an autonomy to it that an actor has that he doesn’t have anywhere but on stage. It’s nice to be in a medium where you are controlling your performance entirely…as opposed to an editor, or a director or even a lighting guy or whoever else might have his hands in your performance.

It’s nice to be simply free. You are you without any filters.

Tell me about the creative process of improv:

And mostly because while I do some stand up, I mostly do improv. That’s exciting because I get to share creating something in a crucible with imagination and fruition in the moment with someone: making eye contact and connecting. Being able to create something spontaneously.

It is written on water and it is gone as soon as you have done it.

And certainly, anyone who has something bad to say about my work, should realize that most of my best work is lost to the ages.

Is there anything about Dad’s that really relates to you as a performer?

I love the fact that the people there have been doing it a very long time. They have a fan base and an identity in the community in Atlanta and in the improv world at large. They have a great following and great talent and they are committed to it…they love it!

I love going to places and doing improv with people who love it.

Now I AM going to talk about 30 Rock. The quintessential Pete Hornberger moment for me, as a viewer, was Pete, alone, without his phone, with his arm stuck in a vending machine. Was it a warning about Candy Machines or just great physical comedy?

It was a warning about desire. Our desire causes our pain in life. It is the quintessential Pete moment because he eventually dials the phone with his shoe but ends up dialing his own office.

So, you are also a nerd. The only time I ever met you was at a comic book convention in Charlotte. My teenage daughter walked up to you, and you were so gracious to her. Since that time, she has pursued comedy. You are kind of a role model for her. What type of advice would you give to the young comics and performers trying to get out there today?

Trust your talents, don’t let anyone tell you aren’t good enough. Be someone other people will want to work with. Don’t be the jerk in the room. Do it for fun at first and if you end up loving it, then you gotta be willing to starve for it. And if you are willing to starve for it, you are on the right path. Because there are no guarantees. And improv is not a money maker.

Unless you own a theater. Then you can make money. That’s my advice to your daughter, buy a theater.

Staying on the nerd question, what is the relationship between Scott Adsit the performer and Scott Adsit Agent of Shield and now Nova Corps member?

The Deadpool comic book was relaunched. Gary Duggen and Brian Posehn started writing the book, and the artist Tony Moore drew me into the issue drew me in as a nameless shield agent. He picked me as his model. I met him once, I think. He was drawing from memory. Then they finished the book and realized “Hey, that’s Scott Adsit!” Gary called me up and asked if I would sign a release. That happened.

Then they started calling the nameless agent “Agent Adsit,” then, “Agent Scott Adsit.” In the official Marvel Universe, I exist as a person. The shield agent is annoyed by his charge, Deadpool. Eventually there was a cross over event in the Marvel Universe where they started killing people off. Gary Duggen decided to throw Adsit into space so he wouldn’t be killed off. Now Agent Adsit is in the Nova Corps, which has been seen in the MCU, so people might know what that is. And, he’s a commander.

I am out in space fighting along side Rocket Raccoon and other people in huge space battles and I am in charge! So, if multiple realities exist, then it is true I exist in the Marvel Universe.

Is there a Funko Pop of you?

I do not think there is, but we did have some Moral Orel toys. There were not many, but even Dino and I don’t have any.

Last question: If you had a superpower, what you would use it for?

Well, for good! It depends on what it is. If it were flight, I would avoid traffic, but mostly I would make the world a little better.

My choice of superpower would be the best superpower: speed. I was on a podcast with Hal Loveland and Mark Gagliardi. They debate trivial things such as which is the best jelly and they had a debate of best superpower and I won the argument with speed. Anything (an evil doer) would want to do would be stopped by going faster than them. I can’t imagine writing the Flash comic book because he can do anything before anyone knew it happened. That’s my superpower.

Adsit and the crew at Dad’s Garage promise two exciting evenings of live, improvised comedy. Get your tickets quickly to See Scott Adsit at Dad’s Garage August 9/10.

 

Where:

Dad’s Garage Theater Company
569 Ezzard St SE
Atlanta, Georgia
Call (404) 523-3141

Find out more:

https://dadsgarage.com/

Get Your Tickets:

https://dadsgarage.com/scott-adsit-weekend/