By Bob Evans
Hats off to Willi Carlisle for his one man show that gives a sense of history to the original American music genre: Folk Music, in his hour long play that displays his talent as a story-teller, a banjo pluckin’, fiddle-playing, guitar strummin, squeeze-box squeezer, and mouth organist.
Carlisle’s rapid paced show tells the story of an ageing folk singer who tells of events that remained in his memory from the 1940s through the Vietnam War and beyond. The show is a strong piece and one that draws big crowds.
Expect to laugh a lot, sing along, and just have a good time with his brand of music, stories, and folk music history. The message reminds audiences that valuable and authentic pieces of America’s past lies in the folk music of various regions of the country. If those are allowed to be forgotten or buried, so too is the richness of America’s past.
Willi Carlisle gives great presence in his show. He grabs the audience from the first words of his play and keeps their attention throughout the show. His show is one of the better selections for this year’s Fringe Festival.
“During his last performance, a dying folksinger faces the life he has led, the legacy he will leave behind , and death itself with five instruments, square-dance calls, and enough dirty jokes to make a beaver blush,” the Fringe website states. “The medication-addled musician relives lost love, his experience of the Vietnam War, years of political activism, and adventures into the American wilderness in this haunting, heartfelt hootenanny. The Orlando weekly describes it as “A poetic celebration of America’s original art form that is simultaneously ancient and avant-garde.
“‘There Ain’t No More!’ addresses the faded and sometimes troubling legacy of American folk culture. Developed in a collaboration with “Ozark renaissance folklorist” Willi Carlisle and director Joseph Fletcher, the play is the product of five years of research, down-home poetry, field recordings, music-mentorship, and folklore amidst the misty mountains of the Arkansas Ozarks. Winner 2017 Orlando Fringe “Best Show of the Fringe” and “Patrons Pick”.
Tags: Kansas City Fringe Festival, “There Ain’t No More”, Phospor Studio, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment