Not long ago I caught an interview of National Public Radio. The guest was well-known comedian, writer, producer, actor and TV personality Louis CK. He talked at length about the benefit of open mic venues where he could try new materials – to see how it all sounded in his voice, so to speak, and to get some idea of audience reaction.
That's good enough reason for an open mic art spot in the area. Or at least Wandering Aethestics and the Rubber City Theater Company seem to think so, for they monthly hold an open mic session called the Electric Pressure Cooker.
Until this month, the sessions have been held in the basement of a florist shop – Every Blooming Thing on W. Exchange St. Now the groups are cooperating with None Too Fragile Theater, an avant garde and highly acclaimed area theater company that is in residence at Pub Bricco in the Merriman Valley. On those available weekends that None Too Fragile isn’t performing, according to Kyle Jozsa and Benjamin Rexroad (artistic directors of the company), a no-holds barred open mic venue will be open to all comers.
Saturday, January 17, is the day set aside this month. Acts can arrive to sign up for 10-minutes slots beginning at 7 p.m., with performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. and lasting until about 1 a.m., Jozsa noted.
Wandering Aesthetics and the Rubber City Theater Company have a wide-open call. Although open mic venues generally speak to performance arts (like poetry readings) and spoken word acts (music and singing), Electric Pressure Cooker offers a wider scope. There is usually an art show going on in the perimeter while other performances are happening. They welcome play readings, comedians, experimental art, dancers, scenes from plays (one or more people), improv, full-rock bands (who get an extra five minutes for set up and tear down), and rappers.
It should also be said that you don’t have to perform. You can come just to see the wealth of area artistic talent available in the Akron area.
Jozsa commented that the first time they held an open mic session, about 35 people showed up. Now it is consistently more than 100 acts of various sorts. Admittedly in an open session, things could take a decidedly mature tone, so performers are welcome under age 18 if supervised.
As well as acts changing monthly, so does the emcee for the evening. For the inaugural program at None Too Fragile Theater’s space, the emcee will be Akron-based Matthew Dolan. Dolan works mainly in musical theater (he will be opening the musical “Oliver!” in the Beck Center in Cleveland in May). He also is well-known in improvisational works. He performs weekly with Cleveland’s longest running improv group as a member of Something Dada.
Holding the sessions at Pub Bricco is smart as well. For the lengthy period during which performances are going on, there is food and a full bar just next door. Guests are welcome to take things into the venue.
Wandering Aesthetics and the Rubber City Theatre Company will host the Electric Pressure Cooker open mic series at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 17 in the None Too Fragile Theater space at Pub Bricco, 1841 Merriman Rd., Akron; 330-990-5138. Admission is free.