Summer Shorts- Festival of New American Plays – Program A

In its 12th year, Summer Shorts presents a grab bag of six one act plays over two programs.

Grounded by Chris Bohjalian
Directed by Alexander Dinelaris
With Grace Experience and K.K. Glick

Karen (K.K. Glick) is an experienced stewardess with a dark sense of humor; Emily (Grace Experience) a relative newcomer to the field. The two have been assigned First Class on a flight to London. In the course of cracks about crashing, Karen learns Emily’s afraid of flying. She’s been talked into the career by a Life Coach who, it turns out, is her father’s best friend and her longtime lover.

Further questions reveal Emily was 15 when the two started having relations, i.e. she was raped. Karen is determined to get her colleague to press charges, but settles for a revelation and an alternate resolution.

K.K. Glick and Grace Experience

K.K. Glick is completely natural; sharp, watchful, and compassionate in the role. Grace Experience comes to life as she gets further into Emily’s story with only the barest sign of deeper emotion.

Direction by Alexander Dinelaris is realistic and empathetic. Timing is spot on. We see the women react even when they don’t move.

Chris Bohjalian’s play is deftly written, not the least because it evolves in a setting that subtly parallels Emily’s experience. Just enough is revealed to affect. The young woman’s resistance is reasonably explained.

Kate Buddeke and Joel Reuben Ganz

The Living Room
Written and Directed by Robert O’Hara
With Kate Buddeke and Joel Reuben Ganz

Judy and Frank are the last two white people in what one imagines to be a post apocalyptic world. Put together by “him,” they’re watched by an audience – us whom they acknowledge and address. Both know they’re actors in “his” play. The arranged couple goes through motions of ordinary life – between black-outs and lights up the two find disorienting. They remember outside as cold and ruined. They remember being hunted. Frank briefly escapes… That’s it. A trite premise at best. Rather like an exercise in playwriting 101. With a cliché tag line.

Both actors are good. Direction is rote.

Mariah Lee, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Stephen Guarino

Kenny’s Tavern by Abby Rosbrock
Directed by Jess Chayes
With Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Stephen Guarino, Mariah Lee

Laura (Francesca Fernandez Ganz) and Ryan (Stephen Guarino), both teachers at (or is he the Dean of) a Carolina Magnet School, are toying with having an affair. They talk about an election – for awhile we think they’re campaign workers – Laura’s being recognized as Teacher of the Year, and his “situation.” Prudently she decides to quit. A sulky, young, local woman (Mariah Lee) who brings them drinks, failed at her interview for the school. Perhaps Laura will help before she leaves. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The best thing on the stage is Ms. Lee –  accent, attitude, even posture.
Jess Chayes’ Direction manifests the minimal.

Photos by Carol Rosegg
Opening: Grace Experience and K.K. Glick

Rebecca Lord-Surratt makes the most of few pieces with Set Design that depicts what it should with a dash of inference.

Summer Shorts- Festival of New American Plays – July 20- September 1, 2018
Program A
59E59 Theaters 

About Alix Cohen (527 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.