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Spring EATfest, Series C

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Emerging Artists Theatre should be commended for their dedication to new works.  Their annual EATfests (Spring and Fall) show off new one-act plays performed by members of their company.  I got to review series B and C of their Spring EATfest this year.  (Here's the review of the other).

Series C is made up of the following plays:

  • Antiques by Stan Lachow, directed by James Jaworski 

    This is a somewhat obvious play about two crotchety old men sitting on a park bench. Gus and Mack (Matthew Lewis and Jerry Matz) are old friends who ran an antiques store together in the past.  They've known each other so long they know how to get under each other's skin.  They bicker tortuously "I mean, what do you mean, that's what I mean - what do you think I mean?", and reminisce about old times.  The actors, though age-appropriate for their roles, seem to be trying too hard to play stereotypical "funny old men", instead of just letting the lines be funny.

  • Break by J Stephen Brantley, directed by Jonathan Warman 

An interesting piece about Nigel (Jason Alan Griffin), a British man living in America, who has come home to discover Scott (Hunter Gilmore), a smack addict who's been breaking into Nigel's house the times that he was away.  The two confront their own inadequacies together- both are gay, but from wildly diverse cultures and backgrounds, as they discover.  The two actors give nicely nuanced performances, well directed by Mr. Warman.  I'd seen Mr. Griffin recently in Questa, and Mr. Gilmore in previous EATfests, and they both get a chance to stretch here.

A surreal dreampiece; Melinda (Karen Stanion) is floating down a river on a raft with Huckleberry Finn (Desmond Dutcher), who turns out to actually be Tom Sawyer, or possibly the guy she had a crush on in college (or possibly Jesus), and who wants to have sex right now, even though her mother (Lue McWilliams) has floated up to the raft (unless she's actually The Unsinkable Molly Brown).  Mr. Cambiero keeps the dream-logic flowing smoothly, as characters morph from one to the next.  Mr. Dutcher is especially hilarious switching effortlessly from one character to another. Stanion and McWilliams are excellent as well.

A touching, strangely romantic piece, about a woman (Carrie Tillis) trying to move on from a divorce,  and a man (Roberto Terrell Milner) who is attracted to her, despite being married.  The two meet on the porch of a ballroom, where they watch the fireflies.  Ms. Tillis is especially fine, as the confused "She", who doesn't quite know what she wants from her next relationship.

  • George and Bill are Friends by Susan West Chamberlin, directed by Molly Marinik

A political sketch, with George Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton having a drink together.  They discuss contemporary politics.  It was amusing, but didn't seem to go much of anywhere. Joseph Callari does an amusingly over-the-top caricature of Clinton, but then Ron Bagden doesn't seem to make any attempt to look or sound like Bush, so the tone is confusing.

EATFest plays the following regular schedule through Sunday, May 4, 2008:

Tuesdays at 7 pm - Series A
Wednesdays at 7 pm - Series B
Thursdays at 7 pm - Series C
Fridays at 7 pm - Series A
Saturdays at 5 pm - Series C
Saturdays at 7 pm - Series B
Sundays at 2 pm - Series B
Sundays at 5pm - Series A
Sundays at 7 pm - Series C

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.

Photos: Erica Parise
1.Jerry Matz and Matthew Lewis in "Antiques".
2. Hunter Gilmore and Jason Alan Griffin in "Break".
3. Karen Stanion and Desmond Dutcher in "Undercurrents".
4. Carrie Tillis and Robert Terrell Milner in "Fast Light and Brilliant".
5. Ron Bagden and Joseph Callari in "George & Bill are Friends"


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