Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Spring Shorts

Last night's impulse was slogging through horrible rainy night traffic to get to City Lights in SJ because just at the right time someone posted in FB that it was their night of shorts. Five short plays, one scene rather than 1-acts, all by local authors. I had no idea who the authors were, or who was in it, so was pleasantly surprised that my "daughter" Helena, was one of the playwrights. In 1984 she played Charlotte, the undertaker's daughter to my Mr. Sowerberry, undertaker in TheatreWorks' second or third production of Oliver!. We also served on Menlo Players Guild's board of directors together and their play reading committee. We see each other from time to time at The Usual Places.

In the audience was Elizabeth, who was my director's assistant for a show in Santa Clara Players in 2003.

Also there doing some acting were glow-in-the-dark Cindy, one of the folks who kept me from bailing on Lyric Theater's Babes in Toyland a couple of years ago; and Pat, who was in a Santa Clara show in 2003 I ran lights for. The cast party was at her home, and I fell in love with her sister, who unfortunately lives in SoCal and probably thinks I was stalking her. It's complicated.

So, the shorts:
Family Jewels
by H. G. Clarkson
dir. Jeanie Smith
Diane (Lucinda Dobinson) and hubby Will (Chuck Phelps) are dressed in their best for an important appointment. Will convinces Diane to take the shortcut through the dark alley, where they are attacked by a man with a big knife (Keith C. Marshall). Mugger man orders them to get on the ground, which Will does immediately, but Diane's OCD/germophobia gets in the way. Little by little we discover that both of them are broke, and on their way to apply for food stamps. Mugger man complains that he is homeless. Much negotiation ensues (Diane is wearing family heirloom earrings and necklace and her engagement ring). They give the mugger her ring, he lets them keep everything else.

Some serious plot holes here. Nobody gets dressed up to apply for food stamps. Of course they were dressed this was to make the mugging more plausible, but frankly any couple would be a target. Diane was not at all frantic about the prospect of lying on a dirty alley floor - which she should have been.

A good basic idea, but needs work.

by Lisa Kang
dir. Jeffrey Lo
An Asian woman (Kymberly Schieferstein) appears framed in a doorway above and to the left of the main stage. She places a bowl on the ground and freezes. She stays frozen until the last line of the play. On the stage, in a livingroom set, are Kalli (Kathleen Park) and her SO Bill (Jason Arias).  Kalli spends the whole scene in a kind of rant about her ancestry, much of which is aimed at Bill with a tone of "do these pants make me look fat?" to which Bill says All The Right Things™. Pretty soon she gets philosophical, wondering what her descendants will be like 10,000 years from now. And what did her ancestors (she claims that since she is Korean-American, they would have been Mongolian) were like. Would she recognize them? She looks up at the sky and into her water glass. The woman up above the stage looks at the sky and down at the bowl at her feet. She says a single word, the last one in the play, which I don't catch. Bummer.

Kathleen rattled off her lines too quickly, and there was not enough connection between her and the old  woman, but other than that it worked well. I loved Jason's performance.

The Devil's in the Details
by Margy Kahn
dir. Cara Phipps
Katie (Mandy Armes), a young woman, comes to old woman Jude's (Pat Cross) house to take some measurements and look around now that the loan approval is in its final stages.  Little by little, Jude reveals that in the contract it says she gets to stay in the garden shed and tend the garden after the sale. It also says the new owner will help spread Jude's late husband's ashes in the garden. And Jude will be okay because the part of the yard which the realtor was not allowed to show is a pot farm. Kaite is saved by the bell - a call by her SO -  saying the loan was not approved. Or so she thinks. Jude has many financing alternatives to offer.

Very well written, I love the way Jude remains matter of fact as the plot gets more and more twisted. Pat totally nailed the part.

Club Gastro
by Ross Peter Nelson
dir. Rachel Bakker
It's Julia's (Cindy Powell) birthday, and her Best Friend Suzette (Sara Trupski) brings her to the decadent Club Gastro, where the women are shown by the Maitre D (James Barker)  pictures of the "chefs", and get to choose just one for the evening. They choose older, dapper Devon (Ron Talbot). The rule is "look, but don't touch". We find out this applies not only to the chef, but also  to the food.

Devon presents them with an entree, a main course and dessert, each course presented in an increasingly sensuous manner, with the women practically orgasming over the food pron. Dessert proves too tempting for Julia, who grabs it, takes it to the floor and smears her face with it. The Maitre D kicks them both out but Suzette manages to bribe Devon to allow her to come back again another day - without her friend.

The acting was superb. I wanted to take Suzette home with me. Cindy was her usual glowing self, Ron was just perfect as the waiter and James' accent really made the role. I would love to see this as a scene in a longer play.

Minerva And Melrose
by Martin A. David
dir. Linda-Ruth Cardozo
Melrose (Tony Cirimele) is supposed to be sitting on the toilet, next to a padlocked door with a half-window open in it. They did not have a toilet handy, so he was in a chair next to a makeshift toilet paper holder. They also didn't have a door, just a frame. And they did not have anything to be a wall between the toilet and th livingroom. Minerva (Danielle Perata) is in the livingroom.

There is no plot. Minerva is like Lucy Van Pelt, trying out various roles (she starts with radio/tv newsperson) and talking a blue streak. At some point she hands Melrose an apple, which he devours, and apparently that is why there is a window in the door.  She has a habit of inventing words. "autiobiology", for instance. Melrose winces at them, tries to correct them, but she talks right over him. Finally he has had enough, he opens the door and walks off, saying he had no idea the door was open all this time.

It was twice as long as it needed to be. Except for the amusing words Minerva invents, there isn't much to this play. Both Danielle and Tony did as much with the script as could be done, and she looked pretty hot in the black stretch pants and neon pink T, but I don't see this scene going anywhere.

All the scenes were entertaining one way or another, and I love seeing new works, especially snippets, so yes, it was worth the trip.
Tags: review, theater

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