Description and review of Airness, by Chelsea Margantel, now playing at the B Street Theatre at The Sophia. If you don’t know what Air Guitar is – you will after seeing Airness.
If you can get tickets to Airness before its run ends on June 10th I recommend that you do so! You won’t regret it (if crude language offends, you may want to take a pass).
The play is only now in the process of being printed – but as Buck Busfield (Producing Artistic Director) tells it when he and Dave Pierini (Artistic Producer) saw Airness at the 2017 Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville they knew it would be perfect for B Street Theatre at the Sofia. I am sure that in their eagerness to secure the rights that they did a lot of fast talking.
The one act play was changed to a two act play with a fifteen minute intermission with the permission of the playwright. During the rehearsal it became clear that the length of the play with no intermission was not going to go over well with the audience.
You can now “like” a blog post and share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn (see below).
The inspiration for Airness was a dating relationship the playwright had with an up-and-coming competitive air guitarist after she moved from Louisiana to Chicago. While the relationship did not last, the introduction to the world of air guitar led to a sort of fascination.
The play takes place in the present day in dirty, dingy bars across urban areas of the U.S. Airness tells the story of Nina, who enters her first air guitar competition (with an ulterior motive) thinking she will win because she is a “real” guitar player that has played in a band.
The cast of characters, all striving to be the next air guitar champion, are:
- Ed “Shreddy Eddy” Leary (played by Peter Story)
- Gabe “Golden Thunder” Partridge (played by Sam Kebede)
- Mark “Facebender” Lender (played by John Lamb)
- Astrid “Cannibal Queen” Anderson (played by Tara Sissom)
- Nina “The Nina” O’Neal (played by Stephanie Altholz)
- David “D’Vicious” Cooper (played by Josh Bonzie)
Prior to seeing Airness I knew what air guitar was – but at the same time I didn’t. There is a lot more to it than you might think!
There are official rules governing air guitar competition. Airness adheres to the official rules, namely:
- Each performance is played to 1 minute of a song. The 60 seconds can start anywhere in the song. The instrument must be invisible and be a guitar
- Round 1 – (freestyle) each competitor performs a song of their choice
- Round 2 (compulsory) top competitors from round 1 perform surprise song
The judging criteria is where it gets really interesting. Round 1 and 2 are scored on a scale from 4.0 to 6.0, and a single score is given to each air guitarist based on their overall performance in the round. The scores from both rounds are added to determine the contestants’ final scores.
The quality of the performance is based on three key criteria:
- Technical merit (the more the invisible fretwork corresponds to the music that is playing, the better the performance)
- Stage presence (it goes without saying)
- “Airness” (the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself)
Did you know that Sacramento has a local chapter of U.S. Air Guitar? Well it does. And, on June 9th an official Wild Card Qualifier will be held upstairs at the B Street Theatre! There is a $12 cover and a $300 Grand Prize (21+).
The ultimate goal of U.S. competitors is to win the U.S. Air Guitar National Finals and receive a free trip to the International Air Guitar World Championship in Oulo, Finland. To date U.S. Air Guitar has discovered and supported seven international Air Guitar champions!
Comments on Airness (the play) or on the world of Air Guitar competition?
Did you see Airness? Are you familiar with the art of Air Guitar?
Subscribe to SacramentoRevealed.com to receive the weekly newsletter direct to your inbox! Comments are welcome.