The Force Awakens with Impressive Theatre during the Electric Pressure Cooker
Bart Sullivan, 05-17-2019

Kyle Jozsa opens the 45th EP Cooker at the Center in Akron.
Bart Sullivan
Open Mic nights are sometimes known for amateur musicians trying their luck in front of a small audience, but for Wandering Aesthetics, open mics are so much more. On May 4th, The Electric Pressure Cooker celebrated Star Wars Day at the Akron Center for Arts, Music & Performance (known simply as “the Center”) with Director of Education Kyle Jozsa opening the all-but-ordinary combination of stand-up comedy, stories, music, and so much more dressed as Chewbacca. Porgs used as decorations in the space completed the Star Wars theme.

Wandering Aesthetics, founded by Jozsa and Artistic Director Benjamin Rexroad, is an Akron-centered theatre company bent on helping artists, enhancing the theatre community, and creating dynamic performances.

Jozsa told the Falls Free Press that Wandering Aesthetics shows “are often centered around relevant political and/or cultural issues, which [the company uses] to explore the art of storytelling and the nature of the actor/audience relationship.” The Electric Pressure Cooker, meanwhile, is “an ‘anything goes’ open mic... designed to provide a space for performers of all genres and experience levels to work on their craft” in an “ever-growing community made up of supportive artists and patrons always ready to collaborate or cheerlead.”

The 45th Electric Pressure Cooker show on May 4th demonstrated that the show has come a long way since its first production in February 2014 in the basement of a Highland Square flower shop. Geared toward theatre artists, it was named after the Electric Kool Aid Acid Tests and the idea of creating diamonds from coal. “Within three months, the event was jam packed with audience members and performers across all disciplines,” recalls Jozsa. The only rules for these shows are for both performers and audience members to respect the space, the performers, and the audience—guidelines held deep in Wandering Aesthetics’ theatrical roots and their shows’ intimate atmosphere. The Electric Pressure Cooker is now held monthly at the Center, along with classes, workshops, and other performances.

For May’s show, audiences were greeted by emcee Madison Jeannette and her acoustic mix of songs. From there, the show gave way to a multitude of different acts, from B.C Wehman discussing the emotional factors of playing video games and aging to Greg Suchy trying out newly practiced songs on the guitar. An extremely magical act of the night that brought a standing ovation from the entire room was the band Church of Starry Wisdom, a dark, gothic powerhouse of experimental songs about life and death, love, disdain, and despair, all in a dark package courtesy of a church organ.

In addition to the Electric Pressure Cooker, Wandering Aesthetics hosts Full Circle Storytelling, a monthly open mic for storytellers on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Jilly’s Music Room in Akron. The Center also holds Summer classes for kids at the First Christian Church in Cuyahoga Falls.

The next monthly Electric Pressure Cooker will take place on June 1 at 9pm at the Akron Center for Arts, Music & Performance, 118 W. Market St., Akron. For more information about Wandering Aesthetics and its program, visit https://www.watheatre.com


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