Three of these well-chosen one-acts are by Durang, a good choice for a company looking to razzle-dazzle an audience with pyrotechnics without getting too deep about it. The others were nothing to sneeze at, either, making for a highly entertaining evening.
In Sure Thing, by David Ives (directed by Al Pagano), a single man and woman (Campbell Bridges and Casey Caudill) meet accidentally at an outdoor cafe, where the woman is minding her own business when the man asks if he can sit at her table. Every time one strikes out in a conversational gambit, they rewind the conversation to a prior point and try again, eventually navigating to success, at which point they decide to spend the rest of their lives together. Bridges and Caudill made a game of this potentially repetitive gimmick by varying their timings and approaches, like good ping-pong players.
DMV Tyrant, by Christopher Durang (directed by Bridges), confronts an ordinary citizen (Pagano) with the clerk from Hell at the Department of Motor Vehicles (Rebecka Ray). Ray showed a knack for playing comic heavies borne out in other appearances during the evening.
Daniel Goldfarb's Glimmer (directed by Rebecka Ray) pits writer Sterling Silver (Campbell Bridges) against actress Crystal Glass (Tracy Baker) in a battle of wits and mindshare (insofar as Glass has much of a mind). Of all the evening's plays, this is perhaps the most ephemeral, though the cast did their most to animate their deliberately stereotyped characters.
Durang's The Hardy Boys And the Mystery Of Where Babies Come From (directed by Baker) is your typical Durang lunacy run wild, as the Hardy Boys (John Prave and Chris Todd), having found out that Nancy Drew is going to have to get married because the school nurse says the girl "has a bun in the oven," confront the nurse at school. She makes them take off their clothes and do the hernia test for two hours, as a preliminary to some real fun and games. Again, Rebecka Ray, as the Nurse, showed her wittily wicked streak. (Also featuring Jason O'Connell as a dippy Mr. Hardy.)
Durang's Funeral Parlor (directed by Baker) offers lessons in grief by Marcus (O'Connell) on the occasion of Susan (Caudill)'s dead husband's wake. O'Connell made every outrageous escalation of his character believable, starting with the usual cliches and ending in a bout of full-scale keening.
In John Wooten's The Role of Della, a nasty director (Ray again) puts an actress (Baker) through a brutal audition, almost offering her the part and then sending her on her way. It turns out that she is really a competing actress only after the first one's audition card, which she uses to audition for the real director (Caudill). Baker was game throughout, hilariously debasing herself to get the part. Ray was in equal parts abusive, cold, and manipulative.
Best Half Foot Forward, by Peter Tolan (directed by Pagano) has four guys out in the woods testing each other's macho - especially that of apparent wimp Dave (Bridges). O'Connell was Martin, the chief bully, always abusing Dave and bragging about everything from his penis size to his bowel movements. (That he did so while keeping his character sympathetic and the audience laughing was no mean understatement of his acting abilities.) (Also featuring Prave and Bridges.)
This was an evening of brilliant ensemble acting in well-chosen material. It is to be hoped that LOL Productions continues their good work.
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Copyright 1998 John Chatterton