Ladies And Gentlemen
- by Iron Workers Local 202 Theatre Company
review in Backstage West by Kerry Reid
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- Iron Workers Local 202 had, by most accounts, an
auspicious debut last fall in the San Francisco Fringe
Festival. (I missed their inaugural performance.) Now
company has put together an intriguing evening of seven
short plays: three for women by men, and four for men
- Given that many of the writers and performers are
veterans of Bay Area
TheatreSports, one might be forgiven for suspecting that
the pieces would function
more as comedy sketches than short plays. Happily, that
suspicion is misplaced.
Jonna Tamases' "Car Dealership," which kicks
off the second act, does feel more in
the sketch vein than the others; however, it still provides
a nuanced, goofy look at
classic male discomfort with physical contact with other
- The other pleasant surprise here is that the pieces
deal with far more than just
gender relationships. Kat Koppett's excellent "Faith,"
which starts the evening, is a
funny, poignant look at a young man (Gary Barth) who discovers
that he actually
does believe in God-and isn't sure how to share this embarrassing
revelation with his
best friend (James Thomas Ware). "What's next, believing
economics?" he laments. Malachy Walsh's "22
Fillmore" deftly captures the verbal
feint-and-parry between two teenage girls (Lenora Chu
and Colleen Wheeler) as they
talk smack about each other and other teens on the bus.
- Cameron Galloway's "New Stadium" is a disturbing
look at a sports-crazed father
(Dave Lyon) and his agoraphobic, depressed 10-year-old-son
(Zac Jaffee), who
refuses to come out of his cardboard box and attend a
ballgame with his dad. The
violent denouement felt strained and gratuitous, but Galloway's
writing packs a
painful wallop as she picks apart the thin fabric of the
father/son relationship. And the
taped radio announcements at the top and bottom of the
piece (performed by Ware
and Barth) are achingly funny and absurd.
- Kurt Bodden's sweet, nostalgic "Miss Marsden"
provides a portrait of an upright,
warm elderly lady (Karen Marek) and the teenage girl (Colleen
Wheeler) who helps
her with household errands-with varying degrees of willingness.
Schniewind's musical fantasia "What You Know"
combines Anne Rice, writer's
block, and "The Sound of Music" to charming,
if somewhat overlong, effect.
- The five different directors used for the pieces use
the spare stage of the EXIT to
good effect, and the set changes, performed by Walsh and
Schniewind as a
choreographed power struggle, are inspired and delightful
to watch. The
performances lag in energy from time to time, but on the
whole, this is an engaging
and worthwhile experiment in new writing that pays off
with no small amounts of
charm and wit.
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