SHOWING : October 30, 2017 - October 30, 2017
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Come join us for a night of CREEPY HALLOWEEN FUN! There will be music, monologues, and mayhem.
"Skullcrusher Mountain" by Jonathan Coulton
Performers: Dan Bauman & Bennett Walton
"Liquid Courage" by Laura King
Director: Barbara Hawkins-Scot
Sharon Zinger as Mabel Ann
Dacey Geary as Lurlene
Ian Geary as Cyrus
Lucas Scott as Bobby Ray
MONOLOGUE EXCERPT from "Three Ladies of Orpington:"
"A Murder up in Swanley" by Daniel Guyton
Director: Scott Rousseau
John Courtney as Mr. Fennimore
"Another User for Toilet Paper" by Nick Boretz
Director: Nick Boretz
Gene Paulsson as Harvey
Kathy Buraczynski as Doris
Alice Reed as Becka
Jana Cummiskey as Barbara
"Haunted" by Evanescence
Performers: Courtney Loner with Dan Bauman & Bennett Walton
"Spells 1.0" by Daphne Mintz
Director: William Warren
John Daniel King as Satan
Gene Paulsson as John Jones
Kendal Franklin as Receptionist
Celeste Campbell as Mrs. Newman
Kathy Buraczynski as Barbara Jones
Brian Jones as Dave
Matt Lupo as Roland
Bryant Keaton as Demon
"Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton
Performer: Dan Bauman
"Blood Doll" by Kate Guyton
Director: Stephen Banks
Sharon Zinger as Celeste
Courtney Loner as Marie
Samuel Gresham as Charles
"That’s Classy" by Joseph Arnone
Director: Cathe Hall Payne
Jana Cummiskey as Giovanna
"I Never Do Anything Twice" by Stephen Sondheim
Performer: Kathy Buraczynski
"Ground Chuck" by Benjamin Carr
Director: Melissa Simmons
Celeste Campbell as Beauty Chisholm
Kushaiah Lee as Josephine Chisholm
"Did I Ever Tell You I Am Afraid of the Dark" by Ankita Sen Dasgupta
Director: Cathe Hall Payne
Kathy Buraczynski as Cassandra
"Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park
Performer: Jana Cummiskey
"Bedford’s Sty" by Daniel Guyton
Director: Daniel Guyton
Josh Vining as Bedford
Matthew Carter Jones as Lucas
Mike Carroll as Voice
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The Past, Tense|
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 ||
"Things That Go Bump" has turned into "Things That Went Bump." In a one-time-only performance, any review needs to use the past tense to describe that performance. And in this case the performance was indeed a bit bumpy.|
The two acts each contained a selection of five plays/monologues and three songs. In general, the songs were the low points of the evening. Bennett Walton showed great guitar-playing skills in the first couple, but only Dan Bauman’s rendition of "Re: Your Brains" really scored in the sense of true Halloween entertainment. Teenager Alice Reed showed great vocal promise in "Pulled" from "The Addams Family Musical," but the song is only tangentially related to Halloween. In some songs, notably "Bleed It Out," Angie Short’s sound levels let the musical accompaniment overpower the vocals. Musical interludes between segments were also on the loud side, and didn’t always fade out appropriately as segments began.
The plays were a mixed bag. None of the three monologues landed particularly well. John Courtney’s recitation of a story from Daniel Guyton’s "Three Ladies of Orpington" was gory and suffered from its lack of context. Jana Cummiskey’s performance of Joseph Arnone’s "That’s Classy" was so highly choreographed by Cathe Payne that it came across as all style and no substance. Ankita Sen Dasgupta’s "Did I Ever Tell You I am Afraid of the Dark?" was fairly flatly spoken by Kathy Buraczynski and didn’t seem to have much substance beyond what the title states. Elisabeth Cooper’s sound design, however, meshed echoing party sounds beautifully with the text of this final monologue. The sound design overall (as considered separately from sound levels) was highly impressive for a one-time production.
After an opening song, the first act continued with Laura King’s "Liquid Courage." This is a slight piece about a love potion that works on two couples. It starts with ballet movements of Lurlene (Dacey Geary) tossing items like teddy bears and cologne into a cauldron. Mabel Ann (Sharon Zinger) then enters with a rifle and a jug of moonshine, twanging her skepticism of Lurlene’s intentions toward the skittish Bobby Ray. When Bobby Ray (the delightfully energetic Lucas Scott) enters with Mabel Ann’s monosyllabic man, Cyrus (Ian Geary), he is convinced to chug the love potion. He immediately quivers and twirls and then runs off with Lurlene, obviously in the throes of romantic passion. The same then happens with Cyrus and Mabel Ann. Barbara Hawkins-Scot directed the play with a fair amount of movement, but only the performances of Mr. Scott and Ms. Geary impressed.
The next play up (following Mr. Courtney’s monologue) was "Another Use for Toilet Paper," written and directed by Nick Boretz. His cast seemed stilted and under-rehearsed, and the stage set-up didn’t accommodate itself well to the need of Harvey (Gene Paulsson) to skulk around and hide. Costumes were good, though, and there was a nice toilet paper binocular effect in the blocking. The anti-bullying message of the story was nicely balanced with sarcastic interplay between Harvey and his wife Doris (Kathy Buraczynski).
"Spells 1.0" by Daphne Mintz was another slight piece. Two tech-savvy app designers (Eric Hosford as Seth and Jami Terracino as Vanka) try to reduce a spell spoken by Olga (Annie Cook) to its component parts, using computer programmer terminology to determine how the parts should be coded. Old-school sorceress Olga wants none of this and eventually uses her spell against the meddlesome duo. William Warren’s direction made use of a whiteboard and a spell book and had fairly fluid blocking, enhanced by a spotlight effect (light operator Katy Clarke) during speaking of the Gaelic(?) spell. Despite a commanding performance by Annie Cook, this play seemed to be one rehearsal away from truly catching fire.
The last play in the first act was the act’s best. GM Lupo’s "Devil’s Due" had the largest cast, with the playwright himself and the director, Brian Jones, taking part in minor roles. Ruthless CEO John Jones (the forceful Gene Paulsson) is being led into his personal hell by Satan (the sleazily charming John Daniel King). It doesn’t seem more than annoying at first -- a receptionist (the deadpan Kendal Franklin) who endlessly repeats "please have a seat;" a huckster (the cheery Brian Jones) who endlessly promotes worthless, "can’t miss" opportunities for investment; a talentless, Bob Dylan-inspired musician (the sunglasses-attired Matt Lupo) whose recording career is one of these opportunities; and a cat lady (Celeste Campbell) whose one purpose in death seems to be to drone on about her large collection of feline children as she shows their pictures in a photo album. The tormenting ratchets up a notch when John Jones is confronted with his not-yet-dead ex-wife Barbara (the strident Kathy Buraczynski) and is given a crown by the head demon (the black-shrouded Bryant Keaton). It’s not the most trenchant or comical view of Hell ever devised, but director Brian Jones blocked the large cast nicely and got good, confident performances out of everyone. Apart from John Courtney’s monologue (from a play that just finished its run at Onion Man), this was the one item in the first act that seemed ready for prime time.
After a delightful opening song, the second act gave us Kate Guyton’s "Blood Doll," another highlight of the evening. Although the sexually charged script could use some judicious pruning, Stephen Banks’ direction made the situation come alive of two vampires (Courtney Loner and Samuel Gresham) and the human "blood doll" (Sharon Zinger) that they have made use of for the past three years for their games of pursuit and blood-sucking pleasure. The reversals of role that pepper the script gave it sparkling life throughout, aided by Ms. Loner’s expressive, masterful performance and the ambivalent charm of Mr. Gresham. Mr. Banks’ fluid, active direction also made sure Ms. Zinger held her own against these powerhouse performers.
Benjamin Carr’s "Ground Chuck" followed an unmemorable monologue and an uncomfortably stilted song, showing a school lunch lady (Celeste Campbell) instructing her daughter (Kushaiah Lee) in her new duties as a janitor in the school, primarily in cleaning up the mother’s messy, bloody work area after the sudden disappearance of the principal ... and of a few previous school personnel who rubbed the mother the wrong way. The costumes and set (including a meat grinder!) were impressive in this selection, and the racially charged message didn’t veer into the uncomfortable under Melissa Simmons’ direction.
Another monologue, another song, and then the final selection: Daniel Guyton’s "Bedford’s Sty," directed by the playwright. Think of it as a short, punchy gloss on "Hamlet," with Matthew Carter Jones as the nefarious Claudius (here named Lucas); Josh Vining as his conflicted nephew (here named Bedford instead of Hamlet, and coming across as dim and childish, in a sort of comical take on Hamlet’s scenes of feigned craziness, although Bedford doesn’t seem to be feigning much); and Mike Carroll as the voice of the living room, here standing in for the ghost of Hamlet’s murdered father. It was wacky and comic in performance, and included bits of audience participation that truly captured the imaginations of all viewers. With memorable performances all around, it was a satisfying finish to an evening of uneven entertainment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
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