Heartstring quartet


French Kisses II


Produced by WorkShop Theater Company (http://www.workshoptheater.org)

WorkShop Theater MainStage, 312 West 36th Street, 4th floor east

Equity showcase (November 7-17, Wed-Sat @ 8pm)

Review by Deborah S. Greenhut


Workshop Theater Company offered this varied quartet of short plays exploring love connections  from unconventional perspectives, including the notion that “[s]ometimes it doesn’t work. And that can be the end of it.” The walls the characters erected or discovered offered interesting challenges and diverse outcomes. French Kisses II included the reprise of four comedies developed by Workshop Theater for presentation at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival.


The bittersweet opener, American Thighs, written by Gary Giovannetti and directed by Manfred Bormann, offered a reflection on a lost love by a woman named Phyllis (Lori Faiella) who moved nimbly between her adult and her younger self to sort out her feelings about first love, Nick (John Jimerson), with both actors offering sweet naiveté and maturity as the script required. Excellent lighting effects (Duane Pagano) demarcated the past and present worlds effectively.


The Organist’s Daughter, written by William C. Kovacsik and directed by Tom Herman, offered the comedy of a somewhat slow-moving, costumed eighteenth century period piece involving a special challenge for the hero, Christian Gunderloch (Ben Sumrall), who rose to the occasion of wooing the organist, Dieterich Buxtehude’s (Charles E. Gerber) daughter, Anna Margareta, played with a delightful and encouraging wink in her eye by Alexandra Devin.


The second half of the evening began with Alex Lewin’s What I Really Want to Say, comprised of the somewhat ambivalent Alex #1 (Jason Emanuel) and his cranky ego, Alex #2 (Jess Cassidy White) evaluating the charms of Chris (Jeremy Feldman). Director David Gautschy provided excellent choreography for the divided self and kept the personalities discreet throughout the well-directed funny, poignant piece.


The final offering, Cassiopeia, written by Scott C. Sickles, made the greatest demands on the actors and the audience, and the results, as directed by Timothy Scott Harris, were gratifying - a triumph over an embittered Beatrice’s (Riley Jones Cohen) wish to prevent her seventy-year-old mentally challenged sister, Angela (Cam Kornman) from finding happiness with a younger man named Roy, played with a dangerous hilarity by Jonathan Pereira. Torn between two sisters, the middle sister, clear-eyed Miriam (Linda Segal) lends her support to Angela’s May-December romance while trying to help Beatrice take an honest look at her life and prejudices.



Box Score:


Writing: 1

Directing: 2

Acting: 2

Sets: 1

Costumes: 2

Lighting/Sound: 2



Copyright 2007 by Deborah S. Greenhut


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Copyright 2007 by Deborah S. Greenhut