Friday, December 31, 2004

The Cold Comedy Concoction

Stark Raving Theatre
December 30, 2004

Four new one-act comedies suffer typical SRT Method: forced, heavy handed and trying too hard, further strained by Matthew Zrebski’s frenzied intermezzos. Entertaining to witness committed cast serve different directors/scripts in one sitting, but don’t worry if arriving late: obvious, superficial first-half only whets appetite for funnier, more creative second-half.

Portland playwright William S. Gregory (Child of Pleasure) treaded familiar territory of faux erudition with British voyagers attempting to outwit two Wilde Antarctic penguins blubbering on about humanity. Interesting expedition reached the frontier, but left its director with neither provisions to explore new ground nor reason to set up camp.

Mixed Messages
Teenst dramedy from local student scribe Kelly Bartholomew taught moral lessons through magical transformation of high school hang-ups. Contrived and predictable, the plot failed to make the grade largely because it lacked motivation. And unless it’s a musical, “let me explain to you in a song” is a wrong answer.

The Principal and the Pee
Overlook Michelle Seaton’s thick direction to discover playwright Stephen Karam’s wizzing wit, often as subtle as arrant in sneaky farce of perversion and subversion within high school administration. With a touch of helium, this Pee could bubble with insubordinate delight. For extra credit, rewrite ending and submit to Comedy Central.

Spud Toppers
Portland thespian Todd Pozycki’s humorous references to the wacky positions of an office temp turned into a dead-end job, evidenced by the character’s sudden departure and the company’s unresolved business. Yes, we get it: one of those temps that unaccountably don’t return after lunch. But what if this one did?

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