TinyRhino: Theatrical Drinking Game

By Andrew Andrews

Kelsey Tarantino and Ryan Avalos steal the show as Daisy and Donald Trump in the play TurkeyGate, on stage at Littlefield.

Did you ever play one of those drinking games where you watch a movie and have to take a sip every time a certain event happens, such as a phrase or appearance of someone or something on the screen? In Brooklyn and Los Angeles, UglyRhino has been taking the concept live to the stage with TinyRhino: The World’s First Theatrical Drinking Game. Similar to Rule of 7x7 (one of our favorite events in Manhattan, which lacks the drinking component but ups the number of plays-per-show), the producers select five thematic elements that must appear in each of five short plays, and audience members are encouraged to drink every time an element appears (although, like most of the crowd, we tend to get so caught up in the action that we usually miss the cues entirely).

This month’s theme was TinyRhino’s Leftovers, and the five elements to appear in each play were as follows: (1) someone eats turkey; (2) someone needs a nap; (3) a shocking confession; (4) someone mentions the election; and (5) a change in the weather.

True to the theme, the first play featured a group of anthropomorphic leftovers wasting away in someone’s refrigerator five days after Thanksgiving, costumed in plastic bags and aluminum foil, labeled with masking tape and magic marker across their chests. Titled An Illegal Spinoff, written by Jessy Morner-Ritt, the piece featured Turkey (Graham Techler) and Brussels Sprouts expressing their decaying, existential feelings as Gravy smothered Turkey with affection and Pumpkin Pie (brought to life by Sarah Young with a trailer-trash accent and tons of enthusiasm) tried to cheer her peers out of depression. Stuffing was the narcissist of the group, convinced there was much more to himself than the sum of his ingredients.

Aimee Todoroff directed the second piece, Dirt!, which featured Chris Harcum as a “man in a coat” narrating the story of exiled females Ruth (Jeanne Lauren Smith) and Lisa (Lillian Isabella) who have been forced to hide in an underground hole by the changed political climate on the surface. The story took a surprise turn when the characters directly addressed the narrator, bringing him into the scene and convincing him to share their meal (you guessed it: dirt)!

Before intermission, Witch Life featured three witches—Erica Hernandez, Onyi Okoli and Ann Marie Yoo—retaliating against a strange white man named Chad (Alex Starbuck) for cultural appropriation. After providing the audience with time to replenish their drinks, actors Mackenzie Jones and Zachary Freier-Harrison took to the stage with Pigs, in which a man, afraid that his girlfriend would be unhappy about his joining a cult, is surprised when she reacts more strongly to his mention-in-passing that he voted for Donald Trump.

This month, they saved the best performance for last: Kyle Patrick Wilson’s TurkeyGate, or: Pardon Me, But Does Everything Taste Alt-Right? (directed by Ben Viertel). If you think you have a dysfunctional family, imagine taking your partner home to meet them, only to discover that your little sister Daisy (brilliantly played by Kelsey Tarantino) has taken up witchcraft and your father has—quite literally—started sleeping with Donald Trump! Have no fear, however, because this significant other (Brandi Porter) is a practicing witch who’s willing to battle Trump (comically played by Ryan Avalos) and save the family! Alex Spieth, Joshua Grosso and Sawyer Pierce rounded out the talented cast of this hilarious tale, bringing a grand finale to an already fun evening.

TinyRhino is always worth the trip to Littlefield in Brooklyn, and tonight’s presentation was no exception. If you missed it, though, have no fear: they’ll be back on December 20th with an all-new theme and a new set of plays. Be sure to check it out! 4

Andrew Andrews attended TinyRhino: Theatrical Drinking Game at Littlefield in Brooklyn on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 @ 8:00pm to write this review.