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2008 Fall EATfest, Series B

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I've seen several of Emerging Artists Theatre's bi-annual EATfests, and as with any evening of short plays, they can be a mixed bag. This is series B, which includes plays about clowns, paraplegics, teenagers, and performance artists. I'll also be reviewing A and C later next week.

Furious by Eric Appleton, directed by Marc Castle, is a strangely sedate affair about a young woman (Jamie Heinlein) taking care of her cranky bedridden father (Bill Farley), who wants to have his cat put to sleep when he dies and have it buried with him. Though the actors do a fine job, the script never really came to life for me. It might have been more effective if moved to later in the evening- it's a strange piece to begin with, I wasn't sure if it was meant to be wacky or touching.

Hotline by Lisa Romeo, directed by Ned Thorne, is an amusing piece about a teenager (Irene Longshore), freshly dumped by her boyfriend and planning to commit suicide the night before prom. She calls a suicide hotline and the just laid-off jerk who answers (Bryan Kaplan) pisses her off. It's amusing, though a lot of it seems unlikely. The actors do a fine job- I'd seen them both in previous EATfests, and they keep their fine work. Also props to Matt Stapleton, for a hilarious recorded outgoing message from the girl's ex-boyfriend's machine.

Tranquil by Andrew Rosendorf, directed by Dan Dinero, is an unexpectedly touching play about a newly-quadriplegic gay ex-high school football star (Jason Hare) and his sister (Enid Cortès) who worries about him having a fulfilling sexual life since his accident. Both actors are wonderful and make the most of their roles.

We Appear to Have Company by Greg Freier, directed by John Hurley, is a very funny trifle about a proper British couple (Blanche Cholet and Ed Schultz), who, while reading before bed, suddenly realize there's a clown in the room. Although he's minding his own business and reading Dostoyevsky, They're not quite sure what to do about it. Very funny performances from Cholet and Schultz make this a treat. And Henry F. Street (a certain EAT playwright, performing under a nom du theatre) makes for a fine clown.

Negotiating a Mindfield written by John A. Donnelly, directed by Rasa Allan Kazlas, is an exceptionally strong piece about a young woman (Shannon Marie Kerr), who's brought a friend along (Jacqueline Sydney) to unofficially determine if her grandmother (Jane Altman) may be developing Alzheimer's. Though the ending is just a bit predictable, the strong work (especially from Sydney and Altman) made this a highlight.

Weimar Hole by Sara Jeanne Asselin, directed by Jonathan Warman, pokes gleeful fun at the pretention and excesses of performance artists. Gustav Friendly (J. Stephen Brantley) and Ericka Ericka (Maya Rosewood) perform a hilariously over-the-top piece for an appreciative audience of other artists at an international festival- then at the talkback the other artists (Deb Armelino as an American artist, Kaolin Bass as a French artist, and Vinnie Costa as "Human" a German artist, as well as Moe Bertran as Cyrus, their host) get to have their say. Fine work from everyone- especially Brantley and Rosewood, who give bravura performances, and Costa, who steals the show with his hilarious Germanic mannerisms.

EMERGING ARTISTS THEATRE and Paul Adams, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR present the 2008 Fall EATfest, for a two-week limited engagement at Roy Arias Theatre Center, Off-Broadway Theatre (300 West 43rd St, 5th floor, NYC). Performances begin Tuesday, November 4, 2008, and run through Sunday, November 16, 2008.

EATfest plays the following regular schedule through Sunday, November 16, 2008:

Tuesdays at 7 pm - Series A
Wednesdays at 7 pm - Series A
Thursdays at 7 pm - Series B
Fridays at 7 pm - Series B
Saturdays at 1pm - Series C
Saturdays at 4:30 pm - Series B
Saturdays at 7:30 pm - Series A
Sundays at 1 pm - Series C
Sundays at 4:30 pm - Series A
Sundays at 7:30 pm - Series B

There is a performance of Series C, Monday, November 10th at 7pm.

Tickets are $18.00 and $10.00 with student ID/senior. For reservations, please visit www.eatheatre.org, or call 866-811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased in person half-hour prior to the performance at Roy Arias Theatre Center (300 West 43rd St, 5th floor). TDF accepted.

 


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