BWW Review: AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2018 at Ridgefield Theater Barn
On Friday, March 9, I had the pleasure of experiencing the 2018 edition of an always fun annual tradition at The Ridgefield Theater Barn, known as AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS. Each year, a new group of original short comedy plays are all performed on the same night. An extremely talented ensemble cast has brought consistent laughter to this highly entertained packed house on this opening night for AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2018, across eight short plays and four one minute vignettes.
Like the rest of the packed house, I enjoyed all of the short plays and vignettes, so it is a challenge to choose my top three favorites of these twelve great comedies. I have concluded, though, that the following three, listed in the order that they were performed during the night, are the three that I liked the most.
Netfits is a short play, written by Janet Lawler, depicting the dynamics between a husband and wife, after the husband has changed the password on their Netflix account, to block his wife from placing her favorite movies and shows at the top of the queue. The dynamics between the husband, Todd (Stephen Ross), and the wife Dana (Kristi McKeever) are hilarious, highlighted by Dana jumping on Todd's back, both from standing positions, demanding that he tells her the new password. Alexis Vournazos' directing, combined with the convincing stage chemistry between Stephen Ross and Kristi McKeever had the whole audience laughing.
The Great Thing About Me is a short play, written by Stephen Baluzy and directed by Flori Doyle. The central character is Fred, who is brilliantly performed by Chris Ceponis, as if the role was written specifically for him. Chris Ceponis uses the perfect vocal tones and physical mannerisms to fit this character. Fred is an office worker with a desire to be a stand-up comedian. He is very self-absorbed, but highly likeable, as his words are delivered in a deliberately farcical manner. Larry Greeley is amazing as Don, who is Fred's co-worker, the straight man upon whom Fred's over-the-top behavior plays off of. Don makes subtle, sometimes sarcastic comments to which Fred reacts favorably, even if they are not intended to be complimentary to Fred. Two female co-workers played by Patricia Holzhauer and Danette Riso also enhance the play, furthermore revealing how oblivious Fred is both to the inappropriateness of the way he speaks to his co-workers, and the displeasure by which they respond to it. The short play concludes with some stand-up comedy from Fred. While The Great Thing About Me is an independent short play, it has all the right elements of what could become a great sitcom, using the same cast in the same roles, if playwright Stephen Baluzy wanted to write more about these characters. I think I speak for the entire full house at the Ridgefield Theater Barn when I say that we enjoyed this short play so much that we would love to see a sequel featuring these same characters.
The Erythrosine Ballad is a short play written by Pat O'Neill and directed by Debbie Levin. It starts with Sam (John Freyer) on the phone, down at a bus station, while he is waiting for a bus to arrive. After his phone conversation ends, Mary (Chhanda Som) arrives at the bus station, and makes it blatantly obvious that she is trying to pick him up. He initially acts resistant, and even annoyed by her presence. She insists, however, that he rides the same bus as her, even though it is not the bus he was planning to ride. Mary initially claims she needs protection from the chicken lady, but eventually goes into detail as to how Sam's and her lives might go if Sam makes this choice. The stage chemistry between John Freyer and Chhanda Som is so strong that they make their farcical encounter believable. Who is the chicken lady? How does Sam react to the absurdity of this random woman going into details about their potential future together? Come to see the show to find out!
Comedy from the other short plays and vignettes includes a man who blames a woman he met the day before for the fact that he fails to properly remember her name, undertakers who have disdain towards the deceased man in a coffin, a woman's struggle with the idea of dating an undertaker, a man whose blind date has an altar ego who is physically present on the date with them, a woman who tries to return a scale after she doesn't like what it says, a couple who dispute over advice in a magazine, an encounter between book enthusiasts, an encounter between two men who each believe the other is having an affair with his wife, and the dynamics between a young man and young woman who have a bizarre friendship.
I highly recommend AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2018 which is scheduled to continue to run at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, in Ridgefield, CT on Friday and Saturday evenings through March 31, at 8:00 P.M., and on Sundays March 18 and March 25 at 2:00 P.M. For tickets, please go to http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/.