Archikulture Digest

Kick Ass Plays For Women

Kick Ass Plays For Women

By Jane Shepard

Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park, FL</strong>

Strong roles for women are uncommon, but this collection of short plays is loaded with great roles and great performances. We begin with “Commencing,” directed by Laurel Clark. In one of those incredibly awkward dating moments, Arlen (Christine Robison) brings a nice bouquet of flowers on her first blind date with Kelly (Michelle Kepner-Prueitt.) Since Kelly is straight, a rather awkward interlude occurs. Both women have been outside the dating scene for some time, but neither is going to switch teams. As the show builds, tension mounts until we get to a rather long diatribe section that examines stereotypes and societal prejudice, but once the writer has flushed that out of her system, we get to the good part. As the women become friends and the icky sex vibes die down, we find both has a bigger dating issue than gender preferences or a fear of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s likely to doom them to a long lonely life, and it’s not even their fault.

After a short break, “Friend of the Deceased” brought the most post-show discussion in the ride home. Director Christine Robison filled in for an injured actress, and brought some real bitterness to her dead husband’s funeral. He ran around extensively, and when one of his ex-girlfriend (Samantha Faith O’Hare) shows up to grieve, Robison throws money at her and forces her to reveal the details of the trysts. It’s not clear exactly what the truth is here, O’Hare may have actually done the deed with the dead daddy, or she may be an actress paid to help the widow drive away her demons.

The final performance was by far the most disturbing. In “Nine,” another Laurel Clark project we find Sara-Lee Dobbs and Alia Laurence chained to the wall in tattered and filthy clothes. They are clearly in some political prisoner torture center, and struggle to keep alive by playing a “tell it game”. Each has a fact, simple as it may, be they refuse to tell the other in order o keep themselves alive. The emotional energy starts out at 10 and goes up from there, leaving the audience drained and glad to escape. ‘kick Ass Plays” is powerful and moving, and another excellent and unexpected pleasure from Winter Parks newest theater.

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