BWW Review: AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2017 at Ridgefield Theater Barn
On Friday, June 30, I had the pleasure of seeing AN EVENING OF ONE-ACTS 2017, at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, in Ridgefield, CT. All eight separate short comedies effectively delivered on the laughs, keeping the audience entertained through great writing, directing, and acting, across various moveable sets. The Ridgefield Theater Barn continues to provide the first-rate entertainment that its regular patrons are delighted to experience at every show.
"The Lounge," written by Christopher Griffin, is an excellent opening short play to start the evening. It is the story of four teachers in a faculty lounge, at different points in their respective teaching careers, discussing the students. Will, the mentor teacher for third year teacher Alyssa, was placed into a situation in which an obnoxious helicopter mother wanted him to attend an after-school extra help session with Alyssa, one of Alyssa's students who had been on vacation the previous week, and that student's mother. Will's experience and realization that teachers can not maintain their sanity if they choose to cater to every inconsiderate parent's unreasonable selfish request is brilliantly juxtaposed with Alyssa's feelings that her career depends on her willingness to be a spineless submissive slave to parent bullying, a horrific feeling that is all too real among non-tenured teachers in today's schools that allow parents to email teachers, to the serious detriment of the tranquility levels of the classrooms in which the children are being educated. Laney, a more experienced teacher, strongly opposes the idea that Will should partake in this extra-help session. Ivan, a teacher even further along in his career, provides comic relief, taking a far more confident, positive, and relaxed attitude towards his job, one that would inevitably benefit his students. Timothy Cleary, Brian DeToma, Danette Riso, and Desirae Kelley, all brilliantly portray their respective roles of Ivan, Will, Laney, and Alyssa, creating a comedic, yet realistic start to an excellent series of short comedies.
"The Computer Lesson," written by Myles Gansfried also features very realistic characters in a believable situation. The superb acting of Larry Greeley brings the character Morey to life, an elderly man who enjoys spending time alone at home. Morey's son Alan calls Morey on the phone, encouraging him to become more connected with the world, ironically, by wanting him to own a computer and go online, something that in reality keeps many people isolated from true human interactions. While Morey initially dismisses the notion of getting a computer, he eventually gives in. Actor Roberto Perez convincingly portrays Sammy, the technical support person who, from India, is on the phone with Morey. Sammy's genuine praise and encouragement of Morey's accomplishments of basic tasks provides highly comedic entertainment, as does Morey's advice to help Sammy with a personal situation.
The funniest short play that steals the show is "The Drive" written by Tracy James and directed by Nick Kaye. This is a story of three women who are traveling, together, in a small car, while vacationing in Ireland. Actresses Pamme Jones, Eileen Fickes, and Nicole Veach have strong stage chemistry with each other and priceless facial expressions, in reaction to the navigational difficulty and entertainingly comedic high risk situations they encounter on the road. Their GPS, named Lucy, initially starts their navigation like a typical GPS would, but soon becomes the type of GPS that most people have likely imagined, the type that gets sassy and condescendingly critical, when not followed. The flabbergasted outrage that the women begin to feel and show towards this inanimate object humorously reflects the genuine disgust that many people feel when personifying a digital device that speaks, but does not always yield the results we expect from it. The ability for the audience to relate to the characters' authentically portrayed frustration and anger helps makes "The Drive" become a modern comedy reminiscent of the truly creative and brilliantly conceived comedies from the 1980s.
The other five short plays humorously address topics such as the skeptical cynicism that those who claim to have experienced supernatural encounters tend to receive, the ultimate real life disappointment that people experience when they misrepresent themselves online while seeking online romance, the parental need to have their children watched by someone who will be good for the children, the inconveniences experienced by those on the back of long buffet lines, and the ultimate scam behind so many online package vacation deals that claim to offer a whole lot for a low cost.
I highly recommend AN EVENING OF ONE-ACTS 2017 that will continue to run at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, in Ridgefield, CT, every Friday and Saturday at 8:00 P.M. through July 15, and on Sunday, July 9, at 5:00 P.M.