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‘The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love’ to fly again on MDI

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BAR HARBOR - “I attend a lot of live theatre and I can guarantee that you will never see another show like this one,” says writer and MDI native Mike Perlman of what might be the most preposterous stage show ever mounted – “The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love.”

For only the third time in 15 years, Perlman and his cast are set to present the show (what he says is “the best version” to date) on February 8 and 9, at the Criterion Theatre, 35 Cottage St. in Bar Harbor.

The origin of “The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love” can be traced back to 2004 after Perlman saw a notice about an upcoming open-mic event in Northeast Harbor.

Perlman immediately gathered a group of his most creative friends and set out to write what he referred to as “the worst possible play we could write.”

“And we did,” Perlman told me for a story in The Maine Edge when the show was summoned for a single performance last April.

Among the ingredients Perlman and the troupe baked into the script: “Terrible acting and dreadful props,” he said. “We added our own characters complete with non-sequiturs and terrible dialogue.”

Perlman and his cast were so convinced that the unsuspecting audience at the first performance of the show would stand and revolt at the obvious absurdity unfolding on the stage, they planned to film the crowd turning on them with the intention of editing the expected calamitous reaction into a video comedy sketch.

To the cast’s shock and eventual delight, the audience immediately “got it” and “Flamingo of Love” became an instant hit, leading to sold-out performances and even a public protest resulting from one member of the cast being suspended from school for participating in a show “with such obvious poor taste.”

Audience members who attended last April’s single performance of the show also embraced the farcicality they witnessed at the Criterion and later took to Facebook to share their enthusiasm.

“What a magically hilarious evening,” one review began. “I really cannot remember the last time I laughed so much.”

Another member of the audience enthused: “A fantastically weird and entertaining performance in the confusing non-sequitur style of Monty Python. The audience became so giddy they were even laughing infectiously during the blackouts for set changes (though some alcohol may have been implicated in this).”

“I don’t know where to start,” another review began. “I guess with ‘magical.’ This show was magically magical, in every magically magical way.”

Perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day, “The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love” has been tweaked a bit from last year’s performance, including an updated set and what Perlman refers to as “brand-new magical content.” He believes it will be the best version of the show to date.

I asked Perlman if he sees “The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love” as an ever-evolving project.

“Without a doubt, I would love to keep working on this,” he said. “The ideal audience for this show is college students and people who understand the self-deprecating ‘bad for bad’s sake’ nature of the show.”

(Tickets for “The Summoning of the Flamingo of Love” are available at www.CriterionTheatre.org and at the theatre box office on 35 Cottage St. in Bar Harbor.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 February 2019 13:56

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