Theater Review: One Work Clearly Stands Out in Cary Playwrights Forum's Annual Romp Through Short Plays Set and Performed in Bars | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Theater Review: One Work Clearly Stands Out in Cary Playwrights Forum's Annual Romp Through Short Plays Set and Performed in Bars

Posted by on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge Bar Plays 3.0 - ILLUSTRATION BY KHOA PHAM/COURTESY OF CARY PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM
  • illustration by Khoa Pham/courtesy of Cary Playwrights Forum
  • Bar Plays 3.0
Bar Plays 3.0
★★
Closing Thursday, Nov. 16
Fortnight Brewing, Cary

If you think ten-minute plays are the kiddie pool or the junior division of theater, think again. It’s hard enough for a playwright, a director, and actors to introduce and develop vivid characters, place them in a novel situation, support them with a robust backstory, and authentically convey the truth of changing lives or cultures in two full acts. Condensing all that activity to fit in a tenth of that time requires ruthless editing, extreme economy of expression, and unwavering focus from directors and actors in each of their six hundred seconds.

Unfortunately, most of the acts weren’t fully up for that challenge Tuesday night in Bar Plays 3.0, Cary Playwrights Forum’s annual, locally sourced environmental theater foray, in which new ten-minute plays set in bars take place in them as well. Even what was clearly the most accomplished work of the evening, Michelle Corbitt’s unconventional relationship play The Donor Agency, still felt more like the opening scene of a larger work than a proper standalone. But it left us wanting more with its brisk, believable dialogue, Noelle Barnard Azarelo’s nuanced direction, and convincing performances from rising actor Michael Parker and veteran Laurel Ullman.

The other six plays displayed various combinations of uneven scripting and acting, framed by the listless song stylings of Alice Osborn. What would have transpired if the rest of the cast in William and Laura Harris’s absurdist Waiting on Mr. Right had been up to Jason Christ’s Marx Brothers-style take on a madcap waiter? Or if playwright Marilynn Barner Anselmi had more fully funded actor Elaine Quagliata’s dour mother-of-the-groom worldview and showed what made it change in the gay wedding drama Finally? And what would we have if Andrea Rassler didn't squander so much time establishing her trio of gatekeepers in In Heaven There Is No Beer, and focused instead on Marie Curie’s dilemma as she tries to enter paradise?

I hope we ultimately learn the answers, but this evening left us with more question marks than exclamation points.

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

The Carolina, the Varsity, now the Chelsea. These movie houses were among the reasons we moved here 25 years ago. …

by JO in CHNC on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

The Carolina, the Varsity, now the Chelsea. These movie houses were among the reasons we moved here 25 years ago. …

by JO in CHNC on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

The Chelsea Theatre has to be saved! Chapel Hill and the Triangle would be greatly diminished without it. Other theatres, …

by Jonathan H on The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year (Arts)

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation