Not all about the sexes

Women and Men

Four One Acts by Judy Klass, Johnny Blaze Leavitt, and Jeff Love
Directed by Valentina Cardinalli, Chris Keating, and Jeff Love
Point of You Productions at the Producers' Club
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Andrés J. Wrath

Point of You Productions is a new company of actors, directors, and writers who, as the mission statement says, "are not to give the world answers but to pose the questions it should be asking." Usually such statements are cause for alarm (like the idea but yeah, right...) but not in this case. Although low on production value, and not always successful, their four one-acts had enough raw talent to make one stand up and take note.

Talk to Me, by Judy Klass, is essentially a monologue about Trevor (Chris Keating) who comes in and tries to break his wife Maggie (Karron Karr) out of her silent treatment. Although the work of the actors, as well as director Jeff Love, was consistent, the text is too predictably unpredictable (the husband is not all he seems to be) and the characters are too aware of their own psychology.

Racing to the Bottom was the strongest piece in the evening, although it seems less about women and men and more about economics, power, and responsibility. Its view and scope are greater than a mere relationship play. In it, writer Jeff Love presents three sides of the economic scale: a factory owner and his secretary, an unemployed man with an ailing mom with no health insurance, and a factory worker and her father. The writing is uncompromised, terse, and urgent. Love is masterful with dialogue and the juxtaposing of scenes. Never does he try to explain or offer anything but a shell of the existence of three very different sets of people interacting and behaving. The three groups were played with skill and verve by the excellent Love and a luminous Valerie David.

Although Jodi Griffin and Melanie Kuchinski did good work as the wife and girlfriend of the same man meeting for the first time, the play Face to Face With the Enemy is too familiar in circumstances and execution, although playwright Klass does some neat stuff with her characters' breaking the fourth wall. The directing, by Valentina Cardinalli, was sharp, with some good detail in the nuance of the characters, although the characters need to be more real, as opposed to types.

Acushla, by Johnny Blaze Leavitt, was a good example of how a simple man/woman situation can rise to a more universal appeal. In it Him (Leavitt) is breaking up with Her (Kathy Searle). The play is about saying good-bye and moving on with one's life. The writing is very good, both comic and bittersweet. The acting by Leavitt and Searle lent skill and warmth to the play, and director Chris Keating did a good job with both his actors.

Lights by Jeff Gardner, the uncredited set, and the costumes by Virginia Gassman were serviceable but no more.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2001 Andrés J. Wrath