BWW Reviews: 3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT Offers Plays for Audiences with Short Attention Spans
When asked how long a novel should be, Ernst Hemmingway said he could tell a complete story in just six words. When the person doubted it, Hemmingway wrote "For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn."
It doesn't take a lot of words or a lot of time to tell a good story. In 3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT, three area playwrights were able to weave together engaging stories that lasted no more than 10 minutes each Dec. 13 and 14 at the MadLab Theatre.
WIFI HUNTERS AND GATHERERS, GONE IN THREE and THE TREVA EFFECT were not just some thrown-together comedy sketches. They were well-thought stories with relatable characters and satisfying climaxes, all delivered in a third of the time of a bad sitcom.
Brendan Michna's GONE IN THREE was a perfect case in point. His four-person play captured the arc of a love affair including a tragic end, in the short time frame. Nikki Smith was well-cast as Emily while Joe Liles, Michna and Jim Azelvandre each portrayed different phases of a man's viewpoint of their relationship. The play bounces around out of sequence, with Liles showing the giddy beginning of the courtship, Michna reflecting its guilt and Azelvandre presenting its grief.
The two other offerings leaned a little more to the comic side. WIFI HUNTERS AND GATHERERS, written by MadLab newcomer Erik Sternberger, presents a satirical look at a neighborhood that loses its internet connections. Chad Hewitt (Bruce), David Murdock (Keith), Shana Kramer (Janice) and Liles (Grant) struggle to survive in a world without email, fantasy football and Starbucks Coffee.
THE TREVA EFFECT was the evening's closer. In Austin Steinmetz's play, nearly every insect in a bar believes Treva the Butterfly (Kramer) is responsible for a series of disasters that have plagued their little niche. Only Marvin the Moth (Liles) can see Treva's true inner beauty. Hewitt sparkles as Webster the Drunken Spider, who drinks because his wife Charlotte ran off with some pig named Wilbur. Bartender Max the Cricket (Sean Reid) and waitress Red the Ladybug (Aran Carr) warn patrons to steer clear of the unlucky butterfly.
The 3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT is part of MadLab's 3 IN 30 series, a showcase designed to develop new theatre works. Area playwrights submit pitches based on a single word or location. Those who are selected write out their play. The top three plays are then featured in conjunction with a MadLab production. The next 3 IN 30 showcase, which will be based on the theme "Luck," is scheduled for March 14 and 15. Those who would like to get involved with the productions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.