BWW Review: AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2019 at Ridgefield Theater Barn
On Friday, March 8, I had the pleasure of yet again experiencing one of my favorite annual theatrical traditions, as I tremendously enjoyed AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2019, at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT. These original comedies, so masterfully delivered, keep the audience laughing all throughout, and continue to reveal the power of local theater, local acting, and local playwrighting which every year at the Ridgefield Theater Barn proves itself to be far superior than much of what is highly acclaimed on Broadway. The packed and fully entertained house on opening night is evidence of the high level of quality that patrons of the Ridgefield Theater Barn anticipate and receive every year at this event.
The format is slightly different this year, as one of the plays called "Miss Match/Missmatch" is interspersed throughout, in short segments between the other plays, as a constant ongoing highlight. The Ridgefield Theater Barn's own Paulette Layton has written this masterpiece, while Nancy Ponturo directed it. Chris Cenatiempo and Emily Volpintesta steal the show in their brilliant portrayals of their characters in these segments. This story is a comedic tale of the horrific first dates experienced by Eliza (Emily Volpintesta) a highly likable young single woman who through no fault of her own can not seem to meet a decent man, despite having no shortage of first dates. Chris Cenatiempo remarkably plays all the different guys who Eliza has these first dates with. Some of these guys were fixed up with Eliza through a mutual friend, while others were found on dating websites. Whether a married man, a divorced man obsessed with his ex-wife, a man too shy to ever say "hello," a socially awkward man, a man obsessed with feeding ducks, or a stereotypical embracer of the womanizing gangsta rap culture, Chris Cenatiempo was totally convincing in each and every character he portrayed. The stage chemistry between Chris Cenatiempo and Emily Volpintesta is strong regardless of what role Chris Cenatiempo is playing. I totally enjoyed both the content of the "Miss Match/Missmatch" bit, and the new concept of interspersing it throughout the other plays, always keeping audience anticipation high. Does Eliza eventually meet a worthwhile guy? Come to the show to find out!
"How We Met," brilliantly written by Ellie Martino and masterfully directed by David Fritsch is another highlight. This tells the story of two women named Tess (Taffy Miller) and Marie (Valerie Huegal) reminiscing about how they first met, but having very different recollections and interpretations of how the story actually happened. As they are discussing this, while on stage left, the center of the stage has Young Tess (Chhanda Som) and Young Marie (Maya Jennings Daley) acting out these events in a farcical slapstick manner. The stage chemistry between Maya Jennings Daley and Chhanda Som is incredibly tight. Their on stage antics, which include pulling hidden props out of their costumes, while wearing them are precise and flawless. The facial expressions provided by Chhanda Som are priceless, especially when her character who is facing upstage gets slapped across the face, and she turns around to face the audience with her outraged reaction. While Chhanda Som has some lines in a cameo she makes in "Miss Match/Missmatch," her role in "How We Met," combined with Maya Jennings Daley's role were quite possibly the all-time greatest acting performance I have ever seen by actresses playing characters who have no speaking lines. For anyone looking for some phenomenal modern day original slapstick done incredibly well, "How We Met," delivers in a big way!
"Kissing Will," is a comedy about a young man's encounter with an older woman who he finds attractive, and the awkwardness that ensues when she reciprocates the attraction towards him in an unmistakable manner. C.J. Morsey and Kylie Wolff are highly believable and entertaining in these roles.
Along with five other comedies, the Ridgefield Theater Barn keeps up with its annual tradition of high quality one acts. For mature audiences, I highly recommend AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS 2019 which is scheduled to continue to run at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, in Ridgefield, CT, through March 30, 2019. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets.