Back on the docket
Quickies, Alleyway Theatre long running festival of short plays, has always been a happily mixed bag.
The program disappeared from the theater lineup last year. Fortunately, it was reinstated at the request of some vocal supporters.
The pleasures of any short play festival include the knowledge that a lackluster piece of theater will soon be over, from the hope that it will be replaced by a much better one, and from the sense that a good play must be intensely savored before the curtain comes down.
Alleyway 22nd presentation of bite sized morsels of theater allows for all those emotions and more.
It started in wonderfully promising fashion, with local playwright Donna Hoke clever comedy Time, in which two minor acquaintances (Joyce Stilson and Bethany Sparacio) meet in a supermarket line only to discover they already intimately familiar with one another lives. The culprit, perhaps predictably, is Facebook. Hoke punchy piece confronts the strange feeling most Facebookers among of us have experienced, of knowing far too much about people we see on the street. It also serves as a smart commentary on technology constant intrusion into the social sphere.
Next up was Judy Klass Poe Ster, a sophomoric glimpse into the life of a depressed college dorm dweller (Sparacio) written in the style of Edgar Allan Poe Raven. Despite a few funny lines about Adderall and other vagaries of contemporary college life, Klass piece proves that even short plays can stretch their conceits far too thinly. It might have worked if it had been half as long.
DonnaMarie Vaughan, another local playwright and filmmaker, presented the moving and carefully constructed piece Circle, in which Darryl Hart plays a man whose wife was killed by a drunk driver.
Hart character visits his wife grave and works through his sorrow, an burberry handbags ger and finally his appetite for revenge. Though it could also use some paring down, Vaughan play weds its straight ahead concept with simple and straightforward writing.
Camilla Maxwell abysmal Envy, a nonsensical story about two girls and their pets, was made worse by cloying performances from Stilson and Sparacio.
and Soul is George J. Bryjak refreshingly bizarre riff on the consumer appetites of midd burberry handbags le class Americans. In it, Stilson plays an unrepentant capitalist who shuns charities and promotes the healing virtues of retail therapy. Roger burberry handbags VanDette, playing a man in crisis over how to solve the problems of the world, is an easy mark for this brand of Ayn Rand ian happiness and morphs before our eyes into a kind of purring consumerist creature. This one a winner.
Mark Harvey Levine comedy about an ex gay on a date gone wrong, is clever in spots but a bit too pat in its resolution to be believed. Levine in which a couple on a date burberry handbags (played by VanDette and a particularly funny Stilson) at a cursed Chinese restaurant, is much more successful if only because it much more absurd.
This if you keeping score, goes four for seven. That not a bad record for this Buffalo staple, and ought to make short play fans happy that Alleyway has decided to keep the project on its calendar.