Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Writes of Passage

Last night I joined the small circle of theater folk at Milpitas' Calaveras Rep for some scene readings. Nine other people were there, three had script snippets and the rest of us were there to be readers and/or audience. As it worked out, I didn't read, but did get a chance to comment a lot.

First up was a scene featuring a young woman putting the moves on a young man in his room. She's a ghost, but we don't know this yet. This is the scene where we are given some heavy clues - like her appearing at his bedroom door a couple of seconds after he has waved to her from the window. And the plate of cookies which disappears without her taking them with her when she leaves. And Mom knocks on the door a second after young woman has left, but doesn't mention seeing her. A well-written scene, believable dialog, and the only flaw is on a live stage making a plate of cookies disappear isn't easy - even though we see it on TV all the time.

Second up was two scenes from a 5-act play which were also pretty well done. The five acts are because the playwright has an idea of investigating five tenets of Community. Intregrity, Honesty, that sort of thing. And showing how people are hypocrites in all these things. First scene was a collection agent calling to get $43 from a broke (lost their home to a balloon payment) couple. Second scene was two greedy women plotting a real estate scam during their Pilates session. First scene was pretty standard fare, not much to comment on (this is excellent in a scene reading), but the Pilates scene I think is a case of the playwright amusing himself at the expense of the plot. The Pilates instructor's voice-over was so hilarious against the whispered plotting that I think the audience will miss the plotting because they will be laughing so hard at the voice-over. A great Saturday Night Live skit, but not so great to move his plot along.

Final scene was about a group of 80-ish left-wing radical women who formed an Intentional Community in Seattle (more than you ever wanted to know about those can be found here) inside one of the low-rent projects. I think the author said this is the opening scene - we meet the women outside the building, in the aftermath of the fire department putting out the flames - one of the women was smoking in bed and set the place ablaze. Based on real people, but with a young woman thrown into the mix who had just moved into the projects but was not part of the Community. A good example of the challenge of trying to recreate real people, put them in a real situation, and then add a major fictional twist. It's especially hard to do when your audience is not familiar with these people.

All three offerings were well worth the trip, and I'll try to go again next month, I may even make a scene.
Tags: theater

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