Where the absurd meets the profound best is in "The Speech," the opening piece. The play starts abruptly, while the house lights are still on and audience members are still chatting. Dylan Geringer is Dani, a young woman giving a speech to her community college class. She's frazzled, can't stay focused, and before you know it, she's happily telling the professor and the class her not-so-happy life story, parts of which are acted out with Todd Holtsberry as her mother and Greg O'Neil as her sort-of boyfriend. It's darkly funny as Dani tries to come to terms with her own potential, and more than a little bit moving. Geringer is perfect in the role.
Cruel, Calm & Neglected will be performed for one more weekend, March 2 and 3, at the Black Box at OperaDelaware in Wilmington. See city-theater.org for tickets.