Reality wasn't the setting of any of the plays in Short Stories 2, the NativeAliens Theatre Collective's second annual production from open submissions of new work, but the quality of work was high, and the acting and direction were delicious icing. To give each play its due:
Jane? Is that You? (by Janet Girardeau, directed by Rebecca Kendall) featured a delicious performance by Kristen Dabrowski as the sister of the bride who found a way to (inadvertently?) make herself the center of attention. Mom (Ginnine Cocuzza) is horrified, and this family drama was nicely funny (while not particularly believable) with a particularly sharp turn from Kami Rodgers. (Ladies' room set design, and sound, by Lawrence Manchester.)
Terms & Conditions (by F. Edward Reed, directed by Randy Lichtenwalner) was the weakest of the lot, about a gay couple (Herb Ouellette, Matt Geraldi) celebrating their anniversary, but letting an insurance salesman (Larry K. Ash) into their apartment (yeah, right). But this salesman has a way of making outrageous statements sound nearly acceptable, and besides, he's really after something else. Ash was in complete control, funny and fatuous simultaneously.
Toward (by Thomas C. Dillehay, directed by Mary Tarochione) delivered a surprising amount of information while keeping the audience guessing as to the situation and relationship between two women, well played by Pam Karlin and Karen Leeds. Recognizable emotions were presented as funny and touching.
Telephone is an excerpt from Marc Castle's Gay Rites. Once you got into the rhythm of the rapid-fire conversations and figured out who was who and what they were to each other, this call-waiting concerto was terrific, bitchy fun. Beautifully directed by Jodi L. Smith and acted to the hilt by Mark Finley, Scott Gilmore, David Leventhal, Jeff Seabaugh, and Matt Geraldi. It's not clear how this set-piece fits into the larger picture, but more please!
Beautiful Noises (by Scott Sickles, directed by Igor Goldin) brings dead siblings (Meredith Inglesby and Greg Nacozy) together at the cemetery with their mother (Ginnine Cocuzza) and the brother's surviving partner (Paul Hertel). This is wish-fulfillment family drama, but it worked. Sweet, moving, even intense, and all in 15 minutes.
In O (by Randall David Cook, directed by Mark Finley), an English teacher in Japan (Rebecca Kendall) presents her friend (Peter Herrick) to her class for show and tell: "He is a homosexual." But there's more to this play than going for easy laughs as he tells the class his coming-out story, such as it is. Parts of it were acted out, with Jun Kim beautifully playing some of the Japanese men he encounters. A sweet (and unusual) story, very well told, bringing the evening to a satisfying close with, of all things, the strains of a Strauss waltz.
April Gifford provided terrific support in Jane
and Telephone; except for Jane's toilet stall (and flushing
sounds), and bridal reception dresses (courtesy Regina's Bridal
& More), sets and costumes were minimal or non-existent
(lighting was uncredited). But these stories were so well done
nothing else was needed.
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Copyright 2000 David Mackler