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Live Active Cultures

Seth reunites with old friends who have been absent from Orlando’s stages

Musician Chase Padgett was on hand to play Paul Shaffer, and a contingent from GOAT’s Next to Normal (opening this Thursday) allegedly sang a sample of the soundtrack, but after the second round of shots I couldn’t swear to anything that happened.

Verse spewed like bile

My final reunion came the following night, when I visited the Colonial Drive Sam Flax art store for the first time since they moved into their new Mondrian-decorated digs. Along with the art supplies and oddities, my favorite element of their new location is the loft, a small upstairs area used for workshops, art shows and very intimate stage performances. It isn’t even big enough to be a black box, with seating for barely 30 and no theatrical lighting to speak of, but it was perfectly adequate for a staged reading of The Painter, a one-act play by actor Roger Floyd.

Floyd was last seen on a local stage in Mad Cow’s Rashomon but was forced to bow out of the show due to injury, so it was good to see him back on the boards. In a piece he tells me he’s been developing in various forms for 10 years, Floyd plays Walter Sickert, a British artist and popular suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders; he interprets Sickert as a hypersexual manic-depressive tortured by misogynistic rage and Catholic guilt. Sickert spews baroque verse like bile as he pummels the floor with passionate soliloquies on slaying, occasionally interrupted by erotically charged assaults on an anonymous escort (Samantha O’Hare).

I’d be interested in seeing Floyd turn this into a full production, if he can flesh out Sickert’s back story and restructure the somewhat circular plot. But even as is, this ghoulish morsel achieved its goal: It made me uncomfortable enough to want to go home and take a shower.

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