Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Winter Park, FL
This is a long program full of romantic of material, so buckle in. Breakthrough Theater rounded up 14 new short plays, all revolving around a playwright’s favorite topics: “Love.” We start with “Three Boxes and a Triangle” (by Ken Preuss, Dir Wade Hair). Some too-cute-for-stage kids (Kaitlyn Hoyt and Avery Smith) debate whether a mystery girl like the boy or not. He sent her a “Do you like me?” from, compete with check boxes, and all he gets is an ambiguous answer. Cute enough, but it’s a launch pad for a bigger story that plays out over the evening.
More cute kids drive “The Boyfriend Test” (by Anastasia Sims-Chin, Dir. Wade Hair). Similar in structure to the last show; Samantha (Brooke Tucker) has her assistant (Rhys Silverton) bring in prospective boyfriend, none of whom seem to interest her except the creepy guy. Relying on kids acting where beyond their years it presents a “What you want is right under your nose” story, echoing some of Charles Shultz’s best work.
The last “Too young to even get carded” piece is “How to make a Play for a Girl” (by Ken Preuss, Dir. Wade Hair) follows Justin (Josiah Betancourt) as he deals with the overly chatty Katie (Gloria Denmark) as his sister Stef (Brianna Betancourt) advices him in his struggles to understand Gloria. Is she just nervous, or will she talk this much for the rest of her relations?
All of that is cute, but scene four brings us into the more realistic life situations. “Stuck” (by Scott Mueller, Dir. Jon Jimenez) introduce us to the tentative Palmer (Christian Santiago) who’s stuck in the airport. Not sure if he wants to go to Phoenix to crash with a buddy; he keeps taking the bump on over sold airline tickets. He’s collected a minor fortune in airline passes and he might have a career walking through TSA checkpoints. Talky Zoe (Annette Lee) from the coffee stand approaches him out of curiosity, and while Palmer may be stuck in TSA hell forever, he gives her a chance to get out of dodge, and maybe find a better life.
We start to see some real sparks in “Don’t Call Me Cupid” (Johnathan Cooke, Dir. Carol Palumbo) Fiery Kathryn (Crystal Gail) preps for a date as she banters with her roommate Paige (Amanda Deering). Cupid (Elizabeth Rosa) is the goddess of love, but she’s weak on weapons safety and puts a real arrow in Katheryn’s date, leaving him dead on the living room floor. Then they all debate what sort of restitution is appropriate: the cute bartender at their regular, or the guy across the way, and after a minor cat fight the romance part of the deal is cleaned up. What that leaves are the dead body, and we all know how hard THOSE are to unload…
“A Line and A Curve” (by Ken Preuss, Dir. Wade Hair) brings back Susan (Aly Schonhoff) and Ronald (Stephen Lewis.) He’s now made a life as a small-town math teacher, while she’s now a globetrotting travel junkie. They meet when she drops in in for a remembrance session after the reunion. They’ve both made life progress, but not in the right direction, and they split with a bitter sweet laugh.
The years fly by and so soon we arrive at The Villages in “Stupid Cupid” (by Tracey Jane, Dir. Wade Hair). Charlie (Marty Wicks) want to settle into this old timer hive to read the paper and yell at clouds. Lively Desi (Eileen Antonescu) is looking for some hot tennis action and works to get this crusty ex-God on his feet. Her chances are weak until the new kid in town (Taino Sanchez) appears with the Nerf Gun of Love. His aim misses more than a few times, but a point-blank guy shot gives him his first kill and drives what the other two need to hook up, whatever that may mean in this stage of life.
We are back to the stock Short Play Coffee shop in “Reflections” (by Bee Jay Aubertin Clinton, Dir. Jon Jimenez). Here Molly (Emma Gleghorn) argues with the horny but shy Bryce (Jessie Ehrenberg). She recommends he should get out and meet someone. They might be the over efficient waiter Sean (Juan Conde) who brings coffee and hope to Bryce’s dating profile. But Bryce is shy, and it takes Sean’s over-reaching solicitation to get a date going. It may not be love at first site, but its love for a few weeks, and you need to start somewhere.
It’s been a long pull, and we enter the home stretch with “Kissing for Amateurs” (By W.L. Newkirk Dir. Carol Palumbo). Sarah (Jennifer Vose) and “Emily” (April Siciliano) fluster about preparing to go somewhere. Meanwhile Hanna (Michelle Burkett) and her hubby Matthew (Ken Leary) offered snide comments. They may be snide, but Leary’s delivery gets solid laughs in this little slice of life tale.
Now we see the funniest skit, Art (Mark David) and his wife Rose “Cynthia McClendon” search for a themed retirement community. Art votes “Elvis” and Rose leans “Shakespearian”, and as the elegantly clothed saleswoman Constance (Tracey Jane) guide their journey, the sight of Mr. David in Elvis silks and lip syncing The King Dude brings the best laughter of the evening. Personally, I would settle for an “Old folks’” themed place, but at least they have a choice.
We arrive at the end of this long journey with the wrap up to Mr. Preuss’s multi stage romance. Sue (Vicki Wicks) finally gets to settle down with Ron (Larry Stallings). It’s been a long strange journey for the pair, and they did get to miss all the fun fights and depressing road trips that most married couples’ bond through. These are roles the Stallings and wicks excel at, and it’s a nice bow at the end of this program.