In the world of Off-Off-Broadway, there are endless evenings of one-act plays. Some of these evenings are endless, some of them of varying quality, some of them decent or solid - and then there are those fabulous evenings that seem blessed by the hand of Thespis. Such was the evening produced by Thanks Mom! Productions under the umbrella title A Change in the Weather.
An evening of four short plays by Bronson Dudley, Dave DeChristopher, Michael Cookson, and Ethan Kanfer, the writing was of imaginatively high caliber, and was more than matched by the direction and performances. If the physical aspects of the evening were a trifle hit-and-miss, they in no way detracted from the things that mattered, namely the showcasing of some terrific actors in some terrific new scripts. The costumes, too (by Joe Ohmer, who was also responsible for the functional sets), were a level or two higher in their creativity than normally associated with this type of production.
Bronson Dudley's Ice is a chillingly funny commentary on loneliness, expectations, and codependency; Dave DeChristopher's Hand Me Downs is a look at familial dysfunction with a hilarious twist; Michael Cookson's Chaos Theory is an accurate, raucous skewering of a control-freak execu-bitch; and Catch of the Day, by Ethan Kanfer, is a darkly lyrical fantasy that explores the seductive power of self-destruction with hypnotic appeal. All four pieces were directed by Michael Ahearn with the assurance of one who knows how to deliver with elegance and aplomb. All members of the ensemble deserved kudos for their stellar contributions, especially the outrageously funny Laurie Bannister as the control freak, Michaela Szidloski as the increasingly out-of-control nurse, and Maxine Prescott as a charmingly manipulative (is there any other kind?) mother of the bride (sort of). John Koprowski, as two completely different types of befuddled old men, was priceless, as was Erik Thompson as two completely different types of befuddled young men. The most impressive work of the evening, however, came from Jo T. Williams, Christian Thom, and Erik McDowell, who brought entrancing life to their complex but fascinating roles in Catch of the Day.
Thanks Mom! Productions, winner of a 1999 OOBR Award for their production of The Cover of Life, continues to prove that there is no substitute for intelligence, taste, and talent, especially when they are used to their fullest. Congratulations and bravo!
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Copyright 2000 Doug DeVita