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Inside Straight: The Twisty Path Of Personal Investigation In A Modern Age (FRIGID New York 2011)

by Stephen Tortora-Lee on March 1, 2011

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Inside Straight - Johnny Ace

Inside Straight - Johnny AceImage by Ivan Farkas

In poker terms an inside straight means you have everything you need to get all the cards in your hand in order except you’re missing the one in the middle.  In actor/writer George Ridgeway’s Inside Straight the play/docudrama/solo show illustrates that as we progress through the second decade of the 21st century, we as individuals, may be reaching out into realms of information security just so we might stay a step ahead of  being played ourselves.  As the internet moves from 2.0 to 3.0 and New York and other megacities such as London are moving toward becoming Panopticon-ready, and RFID’s are being used for tracking our pets or even ourselves, Johnny Ace (George Ridgeway) enters the scene.

Jason - Virtual Doorman

Virtual Doorman (Image by Ivan Farkas)

Johnny Ace was a Detective on the NYPD before graduating to becoming a private eye on his own.  Now they call him an “information engineer”.  In this day and age, there no longer needs to be someone bringing in a case to be solved, a good information engineer has an eye for what might be worth something, and the connections to track down what it means.

Inside Straight begins with a protest rally filled with high-heeled corporate women, except for one who is wearing running shoes.  Using intuition and research skills moves our investigation from an overview of how omnipresent cameras are in our lives nowadays, to a virtual doorman and we stream by an internet evangelist expounding on the virtues of Connectivity to his minions scattered across the world, and back to the girl in running shoes who may just use those shoes for running as the web of interest surrounding her begins to suffocate her normal existance.

Internet Evangelist

Internet Evangelist (Image by Ivan Farkas)

George Ridgeway plays several characters, each giving a brief rundown about various aspects of our supper-connected world.  Johnny Ace acts as the connector in this sea of connections as well as narrator throughout.  While watching this show it comes off as a piece of near-future science fiction, but since George Ridgway’s biography includes a journalistic background investigating many of the same issues covered in this play it is likely there are many bits of truth mixed up in this grab bag of insightful monologues.  We can see director Letty Cruz’s influence as the piece moves effortlessly from scene to scene educating the audience as it entertains us in a detective story that couldn’t have been imagined even 5 years ago.

For those who feel like they’re being watch, only to have friends chide them about their paranoia, Inside Straight will justify those feelings.  And for those of us who never worried much about it, after seeing this show you’ll be looking at this city through new eyes.


Inside Straight
Written by George Ridgeway & Directed by Letty Cruz
Presented by Thousand Eyes Productions New York, NY
UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place) $15Fri 2/25 @ 6pm, Sat 2/26 @ 10pm, Wed 3/2 @ 6pm, Sat 3/5 @ 5:30pm, & Sun 3/6 @ 2:30pm

FRIGID New York Festival 2011 will run February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.

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