Emerging Playwrights Series II

Theater for the New City
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Marshall Yaeger

In Peter Arbour's "Bar None," some characters in a supernatural purgatory are subjects of an inscrutable God whose vocalizing (by "Pizza Crust" heard over the adequate sound system designed by David Scott) often sounded like snoring.

Perhaps even God succumbed to this much too wordy and soporific comedy in which Gregory Etchison played a tipsy bar fly served by Dale Goodson, whose tasteless tuxedo may have been dredged from the rubbish bin that supplied Kelly Herman with the costumes. (She did best in the final play.)

The lights by Ian Gordon included a black-and-white stained-glass window projection for a skimpy Heaven.

One would not expect an actress named "Avocado Pitt" to give the best performance of the evening; but she did.

Rae C. Wright directed Sarah Crowley and Kathryn Hahn to play hell-hounds as the Marx Brothers might have done. (The brethren were missed.) The only real achievement was when Ms. Pitt got trapped in a tango between the hell-hounds. That moment captured everything the play intended, and without a single word.

Robert Kornfeld's "The Hanged Man" would have worked better as a short story than a play where a journalist (Lincoln Adair) and a computer expert (Robert W. Kalison) argue the death penalty. Nothing is at stake until a ghost (Steve Hall) wanders into the proceedings, carrying the rope that unjustly hanged him, and proceeds to recite his last will and testament. (Item: the empty fields where boys play ball.) Melanie S. Armer directed the proceedings. Tracy Adair served coffee and orange juice. The playwright seemed to be dramatizing a civics lesson for a kids' afternoon television special.

Liana Rosario's "Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know," directed quite nicely by her with Magge Cabrera, was a kind of "Grand Hotel" on rails. Here, a variety of characters expose themselves (in one case, literally) in a train cleverly designed by Peter Arbour. Rich Crooks, Blanche Norman, David Sochet, Jennifer Minichello, Johanna Pinzler, Katy Winn, Rookie Tiwari, and David Ethan played the hapless travelers, with special mention to Primy Rivera, perfectly cast as a New Yawk hoodlum.

David Aronson, who played the conductor, created an ingenious musical score to mimic the sounds of a train by means of a contraption in which two bicycle wheels made clicking sounds and drum brushes slid over pails. Again, it was an extraneous art form that provided the most entertaining element.

As in the other two plays, there were lots of declamatory monologues amidst people vomiting, masturbating, getting stabbed, admitting and denying their lesbian and gay tendencies, then getting stuck between stations. In fact the whole evening never reached a terminus.

The writers in this series hope to press their ears against the walls of America to hear the country sing. These three, to borrow one character's cogent image, used paper cups, not crystal goblets.

Box Score:
Writing 1
Directing 1
Acting 1
Set 1
Costumes 1
Lighting/Sounds 1
Copyright 1996 Marshall Yaeger

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