A few weeks ago I posted about the Sheet Fort Experience here in Walmart Country and it's still going strong. We've gone to one improv show, two story telling nights, one stand up comedy night on St. Patricks Day (there was one song and one limerick, other than that it had nothing to do with St. Patty's Day), and now the show called Found Fayetteville.
The show was described to me as a multimedia presentation and love letter to the city of Fayetteville, and I will give it part of that description. It did have multimedia and the creator certainly loves Fayetteville, though I don't know if it was entirely obvious from the show itself. Basically, it consisted of items found around town (scrawlings on bathroom walls, notes found around town, Craigslist ads) and put together into a show performed by six capable actors.
I wanted to love this show, I really did. For me it had two problems, one of them very fixable. That one was that the show has previously been performed on New Years Eves. Not a problem, except the slide show referenced New Years Eve...couldn't you take that out, because it's March?
Second, with the exception of occasional references to Dickson street and Walmart and a sequence about Bikes, Blues and BBQ (the motorcycle festival that people either love or hate), the ads really could have come from anywhere. I used to read Craigslist personal ads for fun when I was bored in Chicago, and they are totally craze balls, but it's rare to find one that is craze balls in a particularly location-specific way.
I think part of my disappointment is that I've grown to really love this town. It's quirky, and has a lot of personality. This is evident in the Fayetteville Flyer, particularly the comments section about community plans and such. Like many small towns, the residents of this one have pride for their community. They support new initiatives that will help people and actively discourage ones that will be eye sores or hurt the local economy. The mix of people in this town is likewise awesome, from college students to Walmart officials to low-income people living on the outskirts of town who show up to dinner in a straw hat and overalls (I have seen this, I'm not exaggerating). Likewise, the local commericals and the local news are hilarious, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
In short, I wanted to love Found Fayetteville, and I only just liked it. I have hopes that over time the show can develop with new found material that really lets the flavor of the town shine.
Oh, one more thing in praise of the event. For the two nights of the show, all of the proceeds went to help one of the company members who recently had a bad work accident that resulted in loss of a finger. This fellow works with his hands and due to his injury, business has been halted, and the family has 20K in medical bills. So there have been some efforts to raise money for them, including a craft sale and two nights of this show. It's stuff like that that make me love this town--people coming together to support the arts in a sheet fort and to give away proceeds to friends in need.