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Fringe Fest: Adventures of a Substitute Teacher 

Wednesday, Sep 12 2007

In an attempt to change careers, and not necessarily change lives, Steve Karwoski naïvely left his job waiting tables to become a substitute teacher in the L.A. Unified School District. Armed with a whistle, pointer, and pair of boxing gloves, Karwoski navigated the hallways of a middle school that recalls the atmosphere of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I have taught middle school myself and can vouch for the almost super-heroic patience and skill a substitute must possess, and Karwoski is endearingly hilarious spinning his classroom anecdotes onstage. The play practically transforms into a hallucinogenic asylum of misfits when he is asked to a teach special-ed classes for kids diagnosed as "emotionally retarded." Though there are moments that seem too cartoonish to be factual, Karwoski grounds the performance by playing the everyman in the midst of the difficult yet occasionally humorous world of substitute teaching. In the end, Adventures plays like a low-budget and politically incorrect Mr. Holland's Opus. - Traci Vogel

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Nathaniel Eaton


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