Saturday, June 4, 2011
One of the theatrical signs of summer in Baltimore is the Strand Theater's Friends and Neighbors Festival. This year's edition has something for everyone, especially everyone with a taste for fringe. Running on alternate nights, this collection of six new plays by different authors provides the barest workshop productions: $20 was the maximum budget for each director. But less can be more, as a successful evening of very short one-act plays indicates.
Directed by Da'Minique Williams, two bedroom comedies feature squabbling married couples. In Sean Pomposello's Unlimited Nights, Lucy (Kate Shoemaker) and her husband (Raymond Kelly) confront a series of strange middle-of-the-night phone calls. The spat over the calls leads to a bitter walkout. In Susan Middaugh's Such Good Neighbors, Mavis (Jill Colucci) and her husband (Raymond Kelly) come to a confrontation over Mavis's gossip addiction. She enjoys listening to the fights of their next-door neighbors (especially when she holds a wineglass up to the wall), but when her husband becomes the object of the neighbors' disputes, her curiosity turns into paranoia.
Together, the plays run less than half-an-hour. Yet there is a an odd, pleasing symmetry in the bedroom farce that rapidly escalates into marital war. The direction and acting are crisp and energetic in a bare-bones black-and-white bedroom set---what do you expect for $20?
Posted by Guillaume at 2:53 PM