Posted in 59E59, Short plays, theater

Keeping it short

Clea Alsip and J.J. Kandel in 10K written and directed by Neil LaBute, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Clea Alsip and J.J. Kandel in 10K written and directed by Neil LaBute, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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.

Tanis Parenteau and W. Tre Davis in Glenburn 12 WP by Vickie Ramirez, directed by Kel Haney, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Tanis Parenteau and W. Tre Davis in Glenburn 12 WP by Vickie Ramirez, directed by Kel Haney, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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.

Meg Gibson and Michelle Beck in The Sentinels by Matthew Lopez, directed by Stephen Brackett, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Meg Gibson and Michelle Beck in The Sentinels by Matthew Lopez, directed by Stephen Brackett, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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.

 

Posted in Brevity, Short plays

In miniature at 59E59

Meg Gibson, Kellie Overbey and Michelle Beck in The Sentinels  by Matthew Lopez, directed by Stephen Brackett, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Meg Gibson, Kellie Overbey and Michelle Beck in The Sentinels by Matthew Lopez, directed by Stephen Brackett, part of Summer Shorts 2015 at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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.