Franco De Crescentis got the idea to write his play by watching YouTube videos of conspiracy theories. He was careful however as many are recorded by fundamentalists whose visions are slightly ‘skewed’ …
The play in question; ‘Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame’ is a fantastic look into the bad side of the music business. Corporate radio may want to stay away. Gazing into the mirror may be painful …
The concept of the play is simple. A Robert Johnson – esque, romp into just how far someone will go to obtain fame and acquire what the mass media dictates to a population void of their own thought process. Franco asks questions or points out the obvious that most people are either unaware of or afraid to know.
The answers are in your face and are paraded in front of an audience in various funny, poignant and ‘mysterious’ ways. A conclusion of ‘the Devil made me do it …’ – frightfully real.
‘Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame’ is about a young talentless wannabe singer ( played perfectly by Kenny Streule) selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for plastic success. A wayward boy – man whose ideas stem from a MuchMusic childhood. Alex has no idea that peace within and artistic integrity arrives from his soul and not the souls of others. His plight – a sad, scathing look into the world’s inability to arrange priorities for a youth raised by a continuing media -driven society. And peer pressure was bad twenty years ago …? Streule is perfectly cast with a combination of naivety and a drive to succeed. His energy providing fodder for any kid wanting to be the next Justin Bieber / Rock star.
The play is fun to watch and Franco has a very bright future in front of him as a playwrite. His ideas and words – far more advanced than his young age.
Donald Shepherd is delightfully cast as the Devil himself. His presence on stage – an uneasy Utopian moment each and every time. Shepard plays Beezlebub as Satan is imagined. Charming, corrupt and as real a pitchfork placed perfectly within purgatory. Everywhere he walks – surrounded by a bevy of beauties. Sexy, sultry and inviting Alex Cross into their worlds of decadence. Into their orb of Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll. Believable? You bet.
The entire play is narrated by actor Jason Yearow. The entire story is dictated through words which describe the entire process of corporate chastity for those in the audience unable to grasp the gravity of the gaping hole society drills into it’s unsuspecting denizens. Jason does a bang up job of pitching the words with the ebbs and flows necessary to point out the imperfections in a human being.
The play is a parody of perfect portions. The most amusing – the portrayal of the dim – witted Veejays and DJ’s scattered throughout the corporate world via the airwaves. Television and radio personalities who sell their souls each and every day to finance SUVs and plasma televisions. Folks who have no musical education or knowledge pimping out mass -produced ‘stars’ to a public sadly unaware of what music really means or is supposed to mean.
Franco himself plays Gavin. A guy who is part three in the sad equation of society.
Gavin is a loser. An outcast. A nerd in the true sense of the word. Longing to be loved via his association with a star the caliber of Cross. When Gavin is snubbed and made fun of by Cross in public, Gavin resorts to the only way he knows to ‘get back’ at Cross. Unearthing any bad evidence which will lead to the downfall of Cross’ career. Gavin exists in the play with strength. Gavin exists in society with a presence in every nook and cranny. Gavin is basically everyman. Lurking in the shadows and waiting to prey on someone who has fallen from their perch. Gavin exists in every work place, every sports team and every facet of life. Gavin is powerful and has many followers – as long as Gavin does not fall himself.
Franco’s ‘Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame’ is worth seeing. The play needs to be staged on a bigger stage and receive more notice. It is that good and with added funding – Franco’s skills will only toss him onto a bigger stage or movie theaters near you.
Franco’s play needs to be broadcast on Youtube. Until someone discovers Franco’s skeletons of course …