PlayFest 2011Version 2.0 (Day 4)
PlayFest 2011Version 2.0 (Day 4)
Orlando Shakespeare Theater
It’s closing night, and the 2011 PlayFest V2.0 feels like a huge success. Solid houses, good Q&A sessions, and notably improved wine options at the Harriet Lake bar make for a warm and inviting event among the scattered showers. Three shows today, and bear in mind that these are not finished pieces, but are still subject to author improvement.
Zombie Town by Tim Bauer
Directed by Mark Brotherton
There’s art in them thar rural natural disasters, and San Francisco’s Catharsis Collective heads out to rural Harwood TX to do a living documentary play about the after effects of the mini Zombie apocalypse. The mayor wants to sell them a car, the local DJ was happy for the scoop of a life time, the hippy and his slutty girl friend will likely reproduce, and the local Community College got what it always wanted – a corpse for its anatomy department. Possibly the funniest self referential theatrical comedy of the last two or three years, the house was sold out on a Sunday morning, the audience roared and there was a partial standing ovation. EVERYTHING is better with zombies including self indulgent angst ridden theatre.
Positives: Rednecks, Zombies, and two previous productions.
Negatives: Not on the upcoming schedule anywhere in town.
Technical nits: No actual brain consumption.
The Invention Of The Living Room by Andrew R. Heinze
America is the world’s melting pot, but that doesn’t make life easy for the most recent huddled masses. The Levin’s huddle in New York a tenement as they struggle to adapt to the big city. This sure ain’t their parent’s shtetl, but their son hatches a brilliant idea – mass-produced suburban housing in the potato fields of Long Island for the anti Semitic GI’s back from liberating them. Bessie (Janine Klein) is torn between the past and the future – does her household stick to ancient prohibitions against lentils on Passover and radio on the Sabbath, or do they ditch the head scarf and accept their urbane and dark complexioned daughter-in-law (Trennell Mooring)?
Positives: a well constructed ensemble piece with clearly delineated and well. motivated characters.
Negatives: Strident at times and the family arguments play to racial stereotypes. Of course, there is always some truth behind the stereotype, else it wouldn’t exist.
Technical nits: with a large cast and a claustrophobic set, I see this on Winter Parks Smallest stage.
Feverish by Steve Yockey
The Greeks have a bad track record for financial responsibility, but they are past masters at tragedy. Phaedra (Jennifer Chirsta Palmer) takes her entourage into the woods, where Jay Becker’s Dionysus offers here a green peach. The excessive symbolism causes her to fall in love with her hunky son Hippolytus (Brad Frost) and destroys the whole family. His long absent father Theseus (Patrick Ryan Sullivan) invokes his own father Poseidon who sounds weird, spacey and sort of Jewish: “You don’t call. You don’t write. You only talk to me when you need someone killed.” It’s surprisingly entertaining.
Positives: Classic tragedy, a gayer-than-thou chorus, and a mother’s love gone horribly wrong.
Negatives: Why is party God Dionysus such a jerk?
Technical nits: Stick with the white wine, or the dry cleaning bills will kill you.
Cheese cubes. Left over skittles. And the rest of the Barefoot Wine we’ve been avoiding, but this meet up is much more engaging than the opening night party. And yeah, I blew off the Playwright’s Panel. Maybe next year.
More information about PlayFest may be found at http://orlandoshakes.org/plays-events/playfest/index.html