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Review: AN EVENING OF SHORTS at Sowelu Dramatic

Review: AN EVENING OF SHORTS at Sowelu Dramatic

This production runs through September at 21ten Theatre.

Loneliness, self-pity, desperation, fantasies of escape - 2020? Certainly, but also Tennessee Williams. In this case, his 1958 one-act play Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, currently included in Sowelu's "An Evening of Shorts," now running at the new 21ten Theatre (in the old Shoebox Theatre space). This production showcases Sowelu's unrivaled ability to portray the maze of human misery (if you saw the company's last play, Crackwalker, five years ago, you know what I'm talking about).

In Talk to Me Like the Rain..., two unnamed characters, a man and a woman, are in a dingy apartment in New York City. He has just woken up from a multi-day bender out on the town, while she doesn't appear to have left the room for a long time. The dialog between the two isn't so much a conversation as them talking into the void that their lives and their relationship has become. His side is a litany of the ways he feels ill-used by the world; hers is an escape fantasy that's really just a different type of confinement.

Sowelu's production is a filmed version of the play starring Liviya Burns and Ryan Downey, both of whom bring a caged-animal quality to the characters. Director Barry Hunt makes heavy use of long silences and close-up shots, which help build the tension to the breaking point. I was on edge the whole time.

Talk to Me Like the Rain is the second part of the show. The evening begins with long-form improv by Electric Meat Parade actors Daniel Hill and Patrick Hilton. The night I went, it was a touching, funny piece about complex family relationships: between sisters, in-laws, and parents and their adult children. Hill and Hilton have an incredible rapport on stage, as well as the ability to spontaneously develop an engaging story with multidimensional characters.

For the rest of this month, Sowelu is presenting a "mini-season," which includes this program on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as readings and workshops. They're one of those companies that doesn't put on a ton of work, but what they do present is worth paying attention to. Tickets are a sliding scale $5 to $25 payable at the door. The theatre is tiny, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. Learn more about Sowelu and the current mini-season here.

Regional Awards


From This Author - Krista Garver


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