Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We The Corporate Personhood 10 Minute Play Fesival; Series A
Quite by chance I stumbled across an Internet smattering of affordable theater outings in New York City - embarrassingly I've since lost the various websites. The only event for which I managed to make a reservation was a production by collaboration between the Horse Trade Theater Group and the Subjective Theater Company, and presented in two different series. Part A was last night and it was a very satisfying theater tasting.
"Seward, Kansas", written by Matthew-Lee Erlbach and directed by David F. Chapman starred Josh Bywater and Annie Newhall in a well-crafted post-apocalyptic tale. Perhaps a little light in the face of such adaptations as McCormac's "The Road" for the big screen, these two actors lit up the stage, even while I wish each character could have been fleshed out considerably.
"Light Sweet Crude", written by Melisa Tein and directed by Nicole A. Watson starred Kathleen Choe, Khris Lewin, Ajay Saptute and Cotton Wright and was a clever take on the Deep Water oil spill that devastated the Gulf Coast so recently. A little heavy-handed on the corporate greed vs. working man struggle, it struck me that the oil spill was perhaps more a conveniently rage-inducing disaster than a well-plotted intent. Still, Khris Lewin seemed to take the most steps towards an arc for his character.
"The Thrilling Comedy of the True Beneficiaries of the 14th Amendment". written by Julia Holleman and directed by Steve Gillenwater, and starring Erin McCarson, Brian Whisenant and Toby Levin, is self-descriptive in its titling and was a very clever take on a seemingly never-ending political struggle. I felt Erin McCarson shined the brightest in this performance, creating a refreshingly stereotyped character which still possessed soul and drive.
The final play of the night, "They Think Our Favorite Color is Green", written by Patricia Ione Lloyd and directed by Pat Golden was truly a wonderful choice as grand finale for the night. Starring James Holloway, Anthony Gaskins and Franck M. Juste, this story touched on race relations, male bonding, culture, and friendship in an easy, casual way. Honest and simple, I felt that this play fit beautifully into the tight time constraints this festival placed on itself, the relationships felt real, the characters were embraceable in their own presentation, and the friendships were incredibly believable.
According to their program, the Subjective Theater Company "is dedicated to presenting socio-political theater at no cost to" audiences. As such, the fact that the show consisted of 4 short plays presented in quick succession made it perfectly reasonable. Add to this the fact that these 4 plays were good, engaging productions with strong, if quick, storylines, and you have a theater festival I would recommend to all.