Kicking off a marathon month of original works, Bootless Artworks presented Simply Short: An Evening of One Acts. City Theater Company follows up with By George! a collection of short plays by the company’s resident playwright and actor, George Tietze. Rounding off this exciting month, the Delaware Theatre Association will present the daylong DTA Fest at Middletown’s Everett Theater on March 27.
Bootless Artworks’ presentation of Amanda Healy’s Coffee and Rain, directed by Malika Oyetimein, is a drama that unfolds on a New York City street and explores a difficult mother-daughter relationship. The Homeless Man, played by Brooks Banker, controls the setting as he snaps his fingers, adding wise, magical commentary and giving depth to the work.
Joseph Pukastch’s hilarious Nectar provides a window into a support group for those with bizarre sexual fetishes. Andrew Mitchell as Joshua is wildly funny as he exposes his “vegesexual” desire for fruit plates and salads. Puktasch, who also directs the production, has a gift for rich, playful language. He leaves us wondering about the “teasing with a tilapia” and the havoc “otherness” and obsession can wreak in a person’s life.
Prelude to a Kiss is a sweet drama of love gone wrong between a man and his new bride. Artfully pared down to a one-act format by director Rosanne DellAversano, the play is moving as it touches on themes of lost love and innocence. Lindsey Burkland (Rita) was lovely as both the young bride and her “body-snatched” double. Along with Nectar, this Prelude will be presented at the DTA Fest.
In BY GEORGE, Tietze’s short plays are billed as comedies, though some of the material is distinctly dark. He doesn’t shy away from difficult or squirm-worthy subjects. The opening piece, G Dub, directed by Kevin Regan, is a farcical scene of George Washington and his lackeys paddling across the Delaware. As George, Brian Couch is vain and absurd. Like Pukastch, Tiezte gets mileage out of “therapy” theme: In his two-person play A to Z, directed by James Kassees, Kate Brennan is the unloved, misunderstood wife (She) who tries techniques she has learned in couples therapy on her beleaguered husband (He), played by Anthony Bosco. The actors handle Tiezte’s rapid-fire repartee and shifts in power with finesse, and the scene comes to an interesting climax and somewhat unexpected resolution.
Outstanding was Voodoo Barbie, a dark and almost unwieldy comedy, directed by Todd Holtsberry. Melissa Dammeyer’s portrayal of a drunken, abandoned wife (Rachel) is both comical and heart-wrenching. Lucy Charles is wonderful as Margie, the forgotten daughter who acts out scenarios using her forbidden Barbies and serves a commentator on her parents’ pathetic lives. Kevin Regan appears only at the end of the play as the personified voice of Bob, the wretched husband and father who is the drama’s center. His remorse is so complete, his voice so sincere, that we almost wish Rachel would pick up the phone and let him back into their lives.
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See City Theater Company: http://city-theater.org/