BWW Reviews: Cone Man Running Productions' SPONTANEOUS SMATTERING - THE THIRD is the Iron Chef of Theatre
Twenty-four hours before the first performance, playwrights participating in the SPONTANEOUS SMATTERING were subjected to a mixed bag of requirements. They were given a theme for the production, this year's theme being superstition. Each playwright was also required to incorporate a specific line into their short play, "Our love is like a [noun] - [adjective], [adjective], and [adjective]." Incidentally, each writer was also tasked with drawing a random genre out of a hat and randomly assigned a group of actors. Given only the night to craft a script, writers met at the theatre the following morning, where they were assigned a director. The director and the cast had the rest of the day to stage the short play, learn lines, and gather props and costumes. A final twist was given to the directors, as they were provided with a brightly colored feather boa and tasked with creatively incorporating it into their play.
The twenty-four hour frenzy culminated in a riotously funny evening consisting of eight short original plays, and some really memorable one-liners. The evening featured works from some of Houston's favorite playwrights such as Bryan Maynard, Eric James, Michael Weems, Leighza Walker, Fernando Dovalina, L. RoBert Westeen, Nicholas Garelick, and Conor Farrell. Among the talent pool, were the directors who were responsible for bringing the scripts to life: Stacy Bakri, Lulu Mire, Keshia Lovewell, Scott Holmes, Amy Pope, Sam Martinez, Tom Stell, and Erica Smith. It should also be noted that the actors in each of these plays were also extremely fun to watch, and given the time constraints placed upon them, performed very well. It was completely apparent that each cast was having a great time on-stage and that the audience members off-stage were having just as much fun. At the end of the evening, everyone was allowed to vote for several awards (i.e. Best Use of Genre, Best Use of Line, Best Script, etc.).
The play winning the most awards, and voted best script was TALLYWHACK, written by Eric James and directed by Lulu Mire. Eric James made excellent use of his assigned genre, Period Piece, by bombarding the audience's senses with a foul-mouthed Native American Indian named Tallywhack and his interactions with a puritanical and repressed husband and wife. The cast for this short play, Lauren Hainley, Rebecca Johnson-Edgerly, Michael Raabe, and Eddie Rodriguez played off of each other well, making awkward moments extremely awkward and elevating the tension from the time period into quite a comedy.
THE INVESTIGATION OF MAGNOLIA MANOR, written by Conor Ferrell and directed by Erica Smith, was voted Best Use of Superstition and Best Use of Line. Conor Ferrell did a good job with his genre of Horror/Thriller and turning paranormal investigation shows upside down on their head. The cast, comprised of Amanda Perez, Katherine Rinaldi, Mark Stanley, and Clarity Welch. They had the audience in stitches, often having to break for laughs themselves.
Nicholas Garelick's play, DEATH STATION DANCE REVOLUTION, also took home two awards. The assigned genre was Science Fiction/Fantasy, and the script successfully integrated contemporary humor and current pop culture references to create a memorable short play. With direction by Tom Stell and over-the-top acting and dance moves from the cast members Lindsy Greig, Randi Hall, Ruth S. McCleskey, and Megan Nix, it was no wonder that they were voted Best in Show and Cast That Looked Like They Had the Most Fun. As an audience member, I had fun watching them and it isn't every day that you can go to the theatre and see someone dance Gangnam Style.