BEST OF FRINGE
(2006 San Francisco Fringe Festival)
"Kingdom of Not is a one-man show in which the dedicated performer Dan Carbone takes us on a surreal trip. He appears on the cozy, warm set looking like an innocent small-town fellow in a pair of red suspenders over a white shirt and beige pants. What ensues is a wild rant in which Carbone inhabits the character of one Anita Humm, a zany woman from Turkey Bluff who discovers a special baby boy and becomes his caretaker. Anita introduces Randall to a variety of people and non-people in her life, including the creatures inside her rug. Anita reads the baby a note from the creatures in which they declare, 'We are trying to jump the bones of the creatures and create more creatures.'
"This show is not so much about the strange things that happen to Anita while she takes refuge with the boy in her crumbling old house, but about Carbone's performance. First of all, watching a grown man spending an hour and 15 minutes playing a woman without any attempt at drag creates a dissonance that keeps the mind awake. Add to that the strangeness of watching him also act out a baby, a talking rat, a gossipy librarian, and various other characters, and you've got yourself something to watch.
"Anita tells the audience, 'This whole story is the truth! And I ain't so hardly ever lied! Hardly ever!' By the time she says this, one feels certain that while our narrator wouldn't deliberately lie, her command of reality might not be that sharp, as we also see her yell at some dogs, 'We have a reason to live and you do not!'
"At one point during the monologue—which, really is hardly a monologue as there are so many characters; it's more like a one-man play—Carbone is an ant, saying, 'I'm young, spry, and reasonably well-adjusted considering what the world has done to me. Actually, I'm a little neurotic, but it works for me.'
"Carbone periodically sings in strange voices, as when he croons in the persona of an ant, 'Eeeeeee aaaaayahhhh ohhhhh,' and then says, 'That's my first name.' He can somehow get away with having characters say lines that seem deeply philosophical at first even if on further inspection don't make that much sense: 'Sometimes I feel as if I'm pressed up against a balloon and the thing I'm trying to see is on the other side of the balloon. I'm trying to see it. I'm trying to make it all fit together.'
"It somehow does all fit together, though it's hard to say why or how. At the end I didn't feel like I'd gotten to the real end of a story, but that's not what this show is about. We are just taken on Anita's journey with her baby and the strange creatures of their world.
"Now, this show is not for everyone: If you only like feel-goods or plays with a strong throughline and do not have a taste for the bizarre, this won't be for you. If you are, however, willing to go along on someone's ride, it's certainly worth taking this chance. Watching Kingdom of Not is like being in a car with someone who zigzags left and right and makes you periodically unclear where you're going to end up; but then you do end up somewhere, and while it might not be exactly familiar, you're never sorry you went."
"The most brilliant and imaginatively creative mind inhabits one Dan Carbone, who conjures his sorcery in the premiere of his latest solo performance titled Kingdom of Not (dir. Joseph Graham). This is one of those rare Fringe shows that you should RUN, not walk, to see. Carbone is one of those geniuses who only gets better with age. And lucky are we to see his work as it has grown.
"With only a baby carriage and white rocking chair, the quirky Carbone creates an entire world and a world of characters, each with a unique noise and distinct physical characteristics (including the old house they inhabit) that have you, between tears of amazement and tears of laughter, on the edge of your psyche. Buh-buh-buh-Baby Randall, whose 'father was a train whistle and mother was …more complex,' comes to life along with Anita Hummmmmm, who adopts him as her own after her sister Bonnie shot herself in the head.
"This is one instance where meandering sidesteps — including the incredibly extended two-year, one billion ant-mile voyage of the sugar ant scout across the floor, up the wall, along the sink, up to the cabinet, and into the blissful ecstasy of the crystalline white stuff — always magnify the central journey of his characters. All of Dan’s pieces fit so exquisitely together that by the end, one feels as blissed out as that ant by the perfection of it all. And we are thankful to have 'borne witness' to the one who sometimes 'feels pressed up against a huge balloon…just holding onto the edges trying to see it and see things coming together.'
"They come together all right. While all hell
is breaking loose right there in Turkey Bluff with biggest town gossip
Rebecca Nagle, who looks like a 'marshmallow Easter Peep,' all the creatures
in the rug are calling to Randall who is banging his head on the wall at the
spot he later manages to crawl through to get to the other side!
"If all this sounds bizarre, it is and yet, it all makes sense by the end. Heading for a run at NYC’s Cherry Lane Theatre after its Fringe performances, Carbone’s Kingdom of Not will probably take NYC by surreal storm. See him here first where he started out! Kingdom of Not is a MUST SEE!"
Linda Ayres-Frederick, SF Bay Times
"What does one say other than damn....Dan is a genius. He deserves to be huge. I had so much fun watching him perform. So many characters in one little body. So much creativity. Wow...just wow."
Sean Parrott, Brooklyn, NY
Click HERE for Press Release and Additional Photos
Click here for audience Reviews for Kingdom of Not from the 2006 SF Fringe Festival
“Dan Carbone is not of this earth! He is a true transplant from the real Netherlands.
Not from the land of tulips and windmills, but from a region between retardation
George Kuchar, Filmmaker
“The most amazing, pretense-shattering performance I’ve ever seen.”
Goodin Worsted. Big Empire.com
“There are a lot of folks in these parts who pride themselves on creating pieces
that are edgy, in-your-face, and daring; but Carbone is one of the few truly
idiosyncratic visionaries in Bay Area performance.”
Kerry Reid, East Bay Express
“A mild-mannered eccentric with a mind as big as
Texas and a face like Silly Putty, Dan Carbone is a delightful oddity among
local solo performers. His off-kilter perspective on reality and its illusions
creates a strange, funny and disturbing-in-a-good-way hybrid of Flannery
O’Connor, The Twilight Zone, Mister Rogers and Jonathan Winters.”
Kerry Reid, SF Metropolitan
“Carbone is a trip, a genius, freaky trip. You think
your life is more than a little surreal? You think you’re a freak? You think
you’ve seen some rad, edgy theater? Then you haven’t seen a Carbone show.”
Karen McKevitt, SFist
“Brilliantly demented. Carbone isn’t just in touch with his inner child; he’s locked with it in a furious battle on the playground of his mind.”
“In a town where every conceivable wrinkle in solo theater seems to have been ironed out long ago, Dan Carbone crept out from under the bed and lit the mattress on fire.”
“One of the Bay Area’s most original voices.”
Brad Rosenstein, SF Bay Guardian
“Like a do-it-yourself pagan’s mystical communion
with the hall closet or a stylized version of some OCD-driven creativity spied
in the studio apartment across the street. Gloriously off-key moments that match
words and images in a heightened, koan-like banality – reminiscent, to me
anyway, of something off a Nib Geebles wall calendar.”
Robert Avila, SF Bay Guardian
“Dan Carbone has rare gifts as an actor and writer; even his oddest noises, chants and stories seem logical. Hysterical and elegant and really, really weird.”
“Shaped like a turnip, with a greedy boyish smile and a furze of gray hair,
Carbone has got to be the oddest fish in our pond of experimental theater.”
Michael Scott Moore, SF Weekly
cross between Dr. Seuss and Freddy Kruger – with a touch of Lewis Carroll thrown
in for good measure – Carbone is a big, bald man-child exorcising inner demons
with a goofy grin. His beautifully orchestrated lighting, sound, and movement
cues create an engrossing aura that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of
a waking dream.”
Chloe Veltman, SF Weekly
“Hysterical and heartbreaking – a combination of
Buck Owens, Billy Bob Thornton and Jonathan Winters. An enthralling evening.”
Richard Connema, Talkin’ Broadway
“Ever had a shot of morphine? Truly one of life’s odder experiences. There you are, pinned to the hospital bed, watching. You can do nothing, interact with nothing, make sense of nothing: you’re just passive ectoplasm gaping at a demented universe unfolding around you. Welcome to Dan Carbone’s world.”
refreshing find – something truly unique!”
Ed Brownson, SF Bay Times
“Brilliant. A unique genius.”
Gene Price, SF Bay Times
Dan Carbone has been active in San Francisco Bay Area theatre since 1995 as a both a playwright and performer. He studied with Ann Galjour and Grace Walcott, appearing in the Solo Mio Festival’s “Best of Writer’s Who Act”, and has also appeared as a solo performer at EXIT Theatre, Climate Theatre, The Marsh, Venue 9, Studio For, Studio Valencia, the Speakeasy, The Field, and The Milk Bar. His Solo Performance piece Up From the Ground, won Best of the San Francisco Fringe and SF Bay Guardian Goldie and Upstage/Downstage Awards, and was nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best Solo Performance. Nurtured as both a writer and performer during the last decade by his continuing association with both EXIT Theatre and Kaliyuga Arts, his other plays have includedSalvador Dali Talks to the Animals (3 SF Bay Guardian Upstage/Downstage Awards ), The Pilgrim Project (Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for “Best Original Script”), An Impersonation of Angels or The Enigma of Desire, There Be Monsters!, and now Kingdom of Not. He has acted in, and contributed material to, numerous videos by the legendary underground film directors George and Mike Kuchar, including George’s Secrets of the Shadow World, which included excerpts from There Be Monsters! and premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2000. Dan is a graduate of the NYU Film School and currently lives and works in Oakland, California.
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