Thursday, May 25, 2017
This whirlwind evening of theatrical invention from Dramatic Women took many unexpected turns. Even the suggestive title of the event could not do justice to the range of things happening behind these doors. For example, the women who wrote six of the evening’s short plays smuggled in a man for the seventh, but then Jon Vreeland’s gleefully macabre The Grave of Sam Baker, which opened the program, reversed the gender field on them by digging up a woman. Read by Annie Torsiglieri pitted Katrina Cleave and Annabell Walker in a vivid battle of wits driven by some fierce acting technique, and that only revealed its significance as a political allegory at the end. Angelica Diaz contributed Send Off, a miniature portrait of two sisters that nevertheless encompassed a car crash, various grave-site ablutions, and the afterlife.
Three actors — Kyle Fitton, Alec Fitton, and Alex Coleman — played the single role of Simon at three different ages in Emma-Jane Huerta’s Are You Sitting Comfortably?, a riff on both children’s stories and mommy issues. Huerta herself played the Mother.
After the intermission, we were pitched into the frenzy of media renown by Talkback, Maggie Yates’s play about a young feminist icon, Farraleigh Webster, who may or may not be a money-grubbing fraud. Brittany Harter was suitably charismatic and shifty as Webster, while Taylor Gannon as the populist Fangirl and Alesha Claveria as the hard-case Journalist brought plenty of conflict and righteous sass to the mix. Interesting implications for contemporary culture cascaded from these hyperarticulate characters. Ellen Anderson’s poetic Afraid of Big Words returned us to the subject of the afterlife, and Open Mic by Stacie Burrows and Shannon Noel of Mommy Tonk, provided the perfect, oh-so-conscious finale to an unusually self-aware kind of one-night stand.