A bundle of one-acts

Father Figure, Misled--Jus' Be Ya Self, and Sabotage

By Eleanor Earl, Odetta Williams and Quincy Rene Dickerson
Directed by Eleanor Earl and Quincy Rene Dickerson
Produced by SET Services
At Musical Theatre Works
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Sarah Stevenson

One one-act in a series of four, Father Figure was itself, in essence, a series of even shorter one-acts. These interwoven short sketches, written as ``an exploration of the present or absent father during a young woman's adolescent period,'' showcased the father-daughter relationship in three young women's lives. The affluent Beverly Jackson (Simone Monique Barnes) is the most fortunate of the three. Shown in dialogue with her mother (Francesca Hodge) as they look at wedding dresses, and jogging with her father (Ivan J. Moffitt) on the morning of the wedding, it is clear that Daddy loves his little girl.

But the relationships between parent and child are developed only in the most superficial of ways in these sketches, and the dialogue comprised clichés. The least fortunate (in many ways) is Pegan Smith, although it is never

clear exactly why, as actress Natasha Hanina ranted shrilly, stomped about the stage, and severed a certain vital member from her anatomically correct doll. But her hysteria, though somewhat amusing, was incomprehensible. Only the word ``Daddy,'' screeched periodically, really came through.

Far more satisfying was the tale of Audrey Rodriguez (beautifully played by Lisette Lavergne, in what was without question the finest performance of the evening). Shown initially writing poignant (and well-composed) letters to

her father, she finishes the monologue by addressing him directly (in his absence), defiantly asking why she keeps writing him when she doesn't know where he is.

Seen later with her boyfriend (Richard Vazquez), the repercussions of his abandonment of her are beautifully understated. When he says ``You know I'll never leave you,'' her response is a distressing long pause. No, she doesn't know that, and never truly will. This story should be developed into a one-act or longer play of its own, and freed from the superficial clichés of its fellow stories.

Father Figure was written by Eleanor Earl and Odetta Williams. The other one-acts of the evening were by Quincy Rene Dickerson. Like Earl and Williams's work, Dickerson's offered some intriguing glimpses, but also fell into cliché at times. Sabotage was unfortunately in the latter category. The 10-minute sketch took the true story of the airplane crash that killed black politician Ron Brown as its subject matter, positing it as a military conspiracy to eliminate Brown from the political scene. This was told to the audience via a phone call from the Military Officer (Bill Garrity), who provided a perfectly

respectable caricature, as did the other cast members, including Moffitt, Vazquez, Hodge, Richard Guerreiro, Jennifer Johnson, Pamela Johnson, Sekou Laidlow and Chrissy Karas. Albert Johnson played Ron Brown, but didn't really have much to work with.

Misled -- Jus' be Ya Self was more interesting. Thaddeus Poonanny Jr (Ivan Moffitt) and Cloie (Gloria Phillips) meet at a club, hit it off, and decide to meet again. But on their second date, the truths comes out, and in a wonderful series of comic moments, their constructed selves come off, bit by bit -- a wig here, a set of falsies there, a toupee or two... The comedy is quite simple, straightforward, unforced, and, most of all, funny.

Box Score:
Writing 0
Directing 0
Acting 1
Set 0
Costumes 1
Lighting/Sound 0
Copyright 1997 Sarah Stevenson

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