Intrepid archeologists find lost, forgotten, hidden, unsung or underappreciated treasure.
The explorers at the Mint Theatre Company are no less persistent in valiantly unearthing the charms from the past. Their hunt is among the history of theatrical productions.
In their search, they have uncovered many gems, especially several from the prolific pen of Teresa Deevy, an Irish dramatist active with Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in the late 1930s and ’40s. It’s always a special occasion when a Teresa Deevy play is on view.
This year, they kick off the early fall 2017 with The Suitcase Under the Bed, a quartet of short plays found from whence they were stored. Three are world premieres and are presented here as part of the Mint’s Deevy Project.
The Suitcase Under the Bedbegan production on July 21st and runs through September 23rd at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre. For information and tickets, please visit The Mint’s website.
In Summer Shorts Series B, at 59E59 through August 29th, Pete’s (Alfredo Narcisco) depression in Lucy Thurber’s Unstuck is a highlight. Unstuckis the most animated of the three pieces presented. Kudos to Lauren Blumenfeld whose Jackie is an utterly inept tap dancer: we know how hard it is to pull that off. Rounding out the cast are KK Moggie as Pete’s patient love interest, Deirdre, and Carmen Zilles as his narcissitic friend Sara.
Stella Fawn Ragsdale’s Love Letters To A Dictator, unfortunately, and despite Colby Minifie’s best efforts at this performance, left me depressed. The humor of Ragdale’s “letters” did not cheer.
Robert O’Hara’s Builtseems to argue, correctly, that Stockholm syndrome engulfs the victim and the victimizer. The piece is shocking and bland at once.
Built is compact and tightly written, and under Mr. O’Hara’s direction both leads in this two-hander, Justin Bernegger and Merritt Janson hold our interest throughout.
Series B is in rep with Series A, in which the Matthew Lopez playlet, The Sentinels, is a real standout. Series A also features the amusing 10K by Neil LaBute. Despite its short-comings, the combined festival of short plays offers enough to make it all worth the trip to 59E59.
For more information and tickets for Summer Shorts, please visit 59e59.org.
Leave ’em wanting more is a mantra for many of us..
Looks like the folks, like producer J.J. Kandel of Throughline Artists at Summer Shorts, in rep as Series A and B at 59E59 Theaters each year, share that attitude, playing through August 29th.
In this year’s short program offerings, Series A features playlets from Neil LaBute, Vickie Ramirez and Matthew Lopez.
Interestingly enough, the elipses in a short play often tell a story too. Interesting, because there is so little time to convey the whole tale.
Neil LaBute, in 10K, definitely relies on the pauses to move along this story of fidelity and choices. The unsaid adds to the mystery and the tension, but it does not mystify, it clarifies in so many ways. Man (J.J. Kandel ) and Woman (Clea Alsip) meet while jogging out in the woods. How much can be learned about their lives? As acted by Kandel and Alsip, under LaBute’s directorial hand, 10K is amusing and tightly-wrought.
Vickie Ramirez’ Glenburn 12 WP, on the other hand, does mystify, and not with what it leaves out, but with the way in which its story unravels. It, too, is about choices. Robrta (Tanis Parenteau) encounters Troy (W. Tre Davis) in an empty Irish bar near Grand Central. She asks him why he isn’t protesting police killings of black men. He says he’s tired and reminds her that you don’t have to be black to join in the demonstration.
Unfortunately, Glenburn 12 WP devolves from its promising beginning. Despite the best efforts of the two charming actors, under the direction of Kel Haney, the mystery in Glenburn 12 WP makes an uncompromising choice that is less than credible.
Rounding out the program is Matthew Lopez’ excellent The Sentinels. In the opening scene, Alice (Meg Gibson) and Kelly (Michelle Beck) are sharing photos at a coffee house in 2011. The Sentinels moves backwards in time. Here’s a spoiler alert, though it should be clear early on, these are the anniversaries of September 11th. Over the years, the missing Christa (Kellie Overbey)–dubbed the Whiskey Dragon by the waitress (Zuzanna Szadkowski)– is at one of the reunions, while Kelly is not. Alice’s husband, Charlie, was Steve’s and Peter’s boss at a financial firm in one of the Towers. The Sentinels is engaging, and extremely well-acted. Lopez’ play has a lot of power, and is actualized by Stephen Brackett’s adept direction.
For more information on Summer Shorts, please visit 59e59.org.
The same appeal found in miniatures– think dollhouse or architect’s models– applies in literary form. Think haiku or the one-act play, or Hemingway’s famous 6-word story.
The Summer Shorts, Series A and B, at 59 Theaters, magnify the allure. Each part offers up 3 extremely compact plays by the likes of Neil LaBute (a periennel contributor), Vickie Ramirez and Matthew Lopez. Produced by JJ Kandel, the six playlets are in rotating repertory through August 29th. Series B of the Summer Shorts features playwrights Robert O’Hara, Stella Fawn Ragsdale and Lucy Thurber.
For more information and tickets, visit 59e59.org, please.