Posted in Albert Innaurato, Daniel Reitz, Eric Lane, Henny Russel, Jack Hofsiss, JJ Kandel, Maria Mileaf, Neil La Bute, Roger Hedden, Throughline Artists, Victor Slezak, Warren Leight, Will Dagger

Putting on our "Summer Shorts" Series B

There are many iterations of the short story. Probably that look your mama gave you is the shortest. The tales Lydia Davis tells are almost haiku like. For most playwrights, the short form is aka the one-act. 


Traditionally, “Summer Shorts,” a Throughline Artists production in repertory at 59E59 Theaters through August 30th, have upped the ante on short by curtailing the action to a mere fifteen or 20 minutes. Developing a storyline from top to bottom in that time is a challenge. This year’s offerings are a bit longer, running into regular one-act territory.

Some of these succeed better than others.

Henny Russell and Will Dagger in
“Napoleon in Exile,” from Series B,
“Summer Shorts”.
Photo by Carol Rosegg.

One that does so brilliantly is “The Mulberry Bush.” 

With every chatty line of dialog, Neil LaBute builds tension, so that you wonder where his story is going and how or if it will resolve. What seems casual is deliberate and taut.

The poignancy in Daniel Rietz’ “Napoleon in Exile” burns beneath genuine humor. Henny Russell and Will Dagger are natural and charming as mother and son.

Albert Innaurato disappoints with a ranting sketch comedy– of excessive length at 40 minutes–that aims to offend. Innaurato’s liner notes on the trajectory of his career are the best part of his contribution. The piece, entitled “Doubtless,” no doubt as a not so subtle pun on John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” gets a little help from Jack Hofsiss’ lively direction and a fearless cast.

Victor Slezak and JJ Kandel in Neil LaBute’s “The Mulberry Bush,” Part of “Summer Shorts Series B.”
Photo by Carol Rosegg.

The acting in “Summer Shorts 2014, Series B” is universally excellent with stand-out performances by Victor Slezak and JJ Kandel in “The Mulberry Bush.”

For more information on “Summer Shorts 2014,” visit www.59e59.org or http://summershortsfestival.com/.


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