CA - Fables, Foibles and Fumbles is a collection of world premiere one-act plays, each revealing angst in the lives of several characters. Without an overall theme to the three separate evenings which host the series one-acts, each one-act stood on it's own creating a contrasting and balanced presentation. Music cues between the shows and especially Peggy Lee's greatest hits during Inside A Bigger Box smoothly connected each new scene. The sparse set made scene changes quick and easily adaptable for locations ranging from a beach to a brothel to the bottom of a collapsed freeway.
The first evening of Fables began with comatose actors who'd been sitting on stage for goodness knows how long in a frozen tableau before the audience arrived. "Bob's Big Day" was a nightmare where you can't get your legs too move as Bob tries to escape his life while overlooking disparaging comments from his peers. Played by the writer, John Griffin, Bob's flight is cringe worthy as he throws his body around forcing it to move.
In Travis Anderson's "White Widow" a young student gets an education in life as he makes his way through Amsterdam's red light district and ends up at the Van Gough Museum. Marc Wilson was of great interest as the Pimp and a slow motion sequence was gripping.
Writer John Griffin's second show of the evening, "Table for One", was a highlight of Fables. With intrigue paralleling an episode of the Twilight Zone, a young writer encounters a mysterious stranger who's 'Ghost of Christmas Future'-like confession makes for an unnerving evening. Robert Sampson, an accomplished actor, was a delight to
watch in his role of the older man while the "at-odds" chemistry between Gina La Piana and Jeff Daurey's young couple was painfully truthful.
At the caboose of Fables is "Three", written and directed by Christopher Mitchell. Chad Matthews plays Grant, a happy and high-strung beachgoer who happens across an exotic genie in a bottle. Played by Nelly
Pardo, the genie is eager to present him his wishes so she can get back to her own life. In his wide eyed excitement Grant unknowingly gets the three greatest wishes of all.
Evening two of Foibles started off with Pamela Demorest's "Alone at Five." Nicola Seixas plays Elisabeth who battles her inner demons in the confines of her studio apartment. Marine Hughes furiously vamps as Elisabeth's temptress while Emiko Sealle is a perfect mousy contrast. On stage costume changes can be challenging and Seixas had perfect execution.
"Human Relations", written by Ned Racine, is a job interview featuring a worst case scenario. H.R. representative Benjamin
(Eamon Glennon) expertly conducts the cringe-inducing interview and we sweat right along with Jennifer (Colette Divine) as she tries to keep her cool. Although the ending was a bit confusing, the unexpected turn certainly wrapped the unusual scene up nicely.
One of the more powerful one-acts of the festival was Steve Stajich's "Overpass." A couple try to come to terms with an impossible situation during the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake. Kate Conner and Paul Schackman superbly hit a range of emotions as they realize their dire predicament. Conner has some extremely funny moments in this heavy one act. Exceptional lighting and sound cues made it all more realistic.
astonishing stage fighting and intense suggested violence,
"Blood Brothers" by Anthony Barnao is not for
light of heart. David Greene and Adrian R'Mante play brothers
who's love for one another is only equaled by their mutual
hatred. When the two get into trouble, the truth behind their
motives becomes painfully clear to each other.
Fumbles, the third and final evening, consists of a long one-act. While cleaning one day Maud finds a box which contains books and memoirs from her childhood and the discovery only reminds her of how happy she once was. Both her sister and her husband are equally unhappy, but remain blinded to that fact with their own distractions. "Inside A Bigger Box", by Trish
Harnetaiux, contains a series of flashbacks and effective short scenes without dialogue. Julie Shimer (Maud) does a remarkable job as the frustrated wife who gave up her dreams and now lives with regret. As her high-strung sister, Leigh Kelly, stands out as a woman lost in her own fiction while Maud's Husband, played by Robert
Kotechki, is effortlessly oblivious to everything besides his own inner workings.
Produced by the Blue Sphere Alliance, Fables Foibles and Fumbles is the 2nd Annual Short Play Festival now playing at the Lex Theatre through April 20, 2004.
- R. Harker Printable
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Sphere Alliance website.