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BWW Review: SUMMER SHORTS 2016 at 59E59 Theaters Fascinates

Summer Shorts, a Festival of New American Short Plays, is now on stage at 59E59 through September 3rd. There are two individual programs and each of them features three very original plays. Now in its 10th season, the Festival is a great opportunity for audiences to experience great new theatre pieces by renowned playwrights.

We attended the plays in Program A that includes THE HELPERS by Cusi Cram, directed by Jessi D. Hill; AFTER THE WEDDING by Neil LaBute, directed by Maria Mileaf and THIS IS HOW IT ENDS by A. Rey Pamatmat, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar.

THE HELPERS depicts a meeting between Jane (Maggie Burke) and Nate (David Deblinger). These two characters have a complicated past. Jane was once Nate's therapist, but now she has retired and Nate is reaching out to help her. This is a bittersweet comedy about two captivating characters that show how difficult it can be to embrace others. It is superbly written and wonderfully performed.

In AFTER THE WEDDING, a seemingly typical young couple, the Woman (Elizabeth Masucci) and the Man (Frank Harts) talk about their relationship as they are celebrating their 5th (or 6th) wedding anniversary. While they reflect on their wedding and honeymoon journey, you come to realize the dramatic effect that the day had on their lives. Their account reveals a true moral dilemma. The dialogue is completely compelling and seamlessly delivered in this affecting two-hander.

THIS IS HOW IT ENDS reflects the "last bit of forever" and features the talented cast of PatRick Cummings as War; Rosa Gilmore as Famine; Nadine Malouf as Death; Sathya Sridharan as Pestilence, Chinaza Uche as Jake and Kerry Warren as Annie/Anti-Christ. This very original, supernatural short play is a behind the scenes look at the apocalypse. It is a well-staged, creative show that uses clever characterizations to develop the theme.

The Creative Team has done a great job of bringing this fascinating variety of plays to the 59E59 stage with set design by Rebecca Lord-Surratt, lighting design by Greg MacPherson, sound design and composition by Nick Moore, costume design by Amy Sutton; props design by Isabella Carter; projection design by Daniel Mueller; technical direction by Dan Teachout. The Production Stage Manager for Series A is Jenna R. Lazar. Casting is by Kate Murray. Summer Shorts is presented by Throughline Artists, Producing Director, J.J. Kandel.

SUMMER SHORTS give audiences and opportunity to engage in a variety of top-notch plays. Top off your summer entertainment schedule with this fine festival of shows and see both Programs A and B.

SUMMER SHORTS 2016 runs through Saturday, September 3. The general performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7:15 PM, Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM and 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM & 7:15 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues). Single tickets are $25 ($17.50 for 59E59 Members). A Pair of Shorts (a ticket to both Series A & B) is $40 (available until August 17). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit http://www.59e59.org/.

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg



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