Dramatic tidbits

EATFest: Spring 2006 (Series B)

Emerging Artists Theatre
Theatre 5
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Byrne Harrison

The second night of the Spring 2006 EATFest featured three plays that are wildly different in tone and style. The first was Staci Swedeen’s The Secret of Our Success, directed by Derek Jamison. This short play, reminiscent of Mark Medoff’s When You Coming Back Red Ryder, follows Christy (Aimee Howard), a young psychology student, as she and her boyfriend Barry (Patrick Arnheim) move in together. Unfortunately, the apartment is still occupied by previous tenant Paul (A.J. Handegard) and his recently deceased girlfriend. While Paul menaces the couple, he asks them questions about their relationship, trying to figure out why his own relationship ended in murder. All three actors did a marvelous job, with Handegard’s creepy and threatening Paul being especially effective.

The sublime and devastating Nagasaki by Kevin Brofsky was next. As calm as The Secret of Our Success was kinetic, Nagasaki begins with Ann (Irene Glezos) and Darren (Steven Hauck) apparently spending a quiet afternoon relaxing. In reality, they are waiting for word on their missing daughter. The couple, who have already lost their only other child, deal with the situation in different ways, with Ann wondering if they are being punished and Darren holding on to the belief that things will turn out all right. Given the title of the play, the resolution really isn’t in doubt, but Darren’s reaction when the call finally comes was beautiful and agonizing. The stunning performances by Glezos and Hauck, combined with Kel Haney’s strong direction, made this one of the most powerful plays in the EATFest.

Choosing to end the evening on a humorous note, the final play of the evening was Marc Castle’s Mr. Company. Directed by Max Montel in a brisk and breezy manner, the play shows a Sharper Image-type store that is selling a robotic companion called Mr. Company (Christopher Borg). Shopper DeeDee (Deb Armelino) is just looking for some air-conditioning when she meets Mr. Company. Realizing that he can be made into the perfect man, and that he is the unwilling hostage of frosty saleslady Lorna (Sarah Dacey Charles), DeeDee works out a clever plan to free Mr. Company and save herself a couple of dollars in the bargain. Both Armelino and Charles are very amusing in their roles, but this was really Borg’s show. Having to play a robot severely limited what Borg could do, but his facial expressions were priceless and his interactions with Charles and Armelino were terrific.

With three strong plays, a talented cast, and good direction, this was an excellent example of Emerging Artists Theatre’s strengths.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2006 Byrne Harrison