Cheep Theatrics - Complete Play
Cornered: Shannon Gray and B. J. Anderson
Cornered: Shannon Gray
Still Love: Britney Bunker and Patrick Payne
Still Love: Patrick Payne and Britney Bunker
One Person: Garrick Garcia
One Person: Garrick Garcia
May 18-May 20, 2001
The Black Box Theatre's One Act playfest, "Cheep Theatricks" continues this weekend with five plays by 60's off-off Broadway playwright Robert Patrick."Help, I Am", the romantic comedy of "Cornered" and "Still Love", the futuristic "Camera Obscura" to the bittersweet "One Person.
|Director["Cornered","One Person","Camera Obscura"]|
|Director["Help, I Am", "Still Love"]|
Black Box One Acts - first-class theatre at bargain prices
- By Cheryl Thornburg, Sun News C-3 [Friday, May 18, 2001]
If you're a big theatre fan, No Strings Theatre Company has a deal for you! The Black Box Theatre's One Act playfest, "Cheep Theatricks" continues this weekend with five plays by 60's off-off Broadway playwright Robert Patrick.
Ceil Herman who directs three of the five plays read dozens of Patrick's works and chose these to present in Las Cruces. They offer an eclectic and very entertaining evening at the theatre. From the romantic comedy of "Cornered" and "Still Love" to the futuristic "Camera Obscura" to the bittersweet "One Person," Patrick's plays touch on human experience, the need for companionship and the difficulties of communication.
Perhaps the most technically challenging for the actors is "Camera Obscura," a real-time five minute play set somewhere, sometime in the future. Shannon Gray and B.J. Anderson play a young man and woman who have five minutes to get to know each other using a truly long distance communication set-up - the problem is that it takes five seconds for the sound and picture to travel across space, so they have to wait for each other to finish - or they end up talking at the same time and can't hear each other.
The pacing is critical here and because the two actors are often speaking simultaneously, it could lead to confusion, but director Ceil Herman and the actors have worked very hard to make this fast-paced production into a delightful trip that seems to end all too soon.
Garrick Garcia gives the most powerful performance of the evening in the poignant one-man play "One Person." Garcia plays a young gay man lamenting the end of a relationship. The warmth and depth of his presentation and the emotional envolvement he achieves with the audience is impressive. Herman also directed "One Person."
"Cornered" is a charming romantic comedy in which a husband, played by B.J. Anderson, comes home to find that his wife, played by Shannon Gray, has literally painted herself into a corner, and the two converse across the room while she waits for the newly painted floor to dry. The two work well together, whether in the rapid-fire "Camera Obscura" or this leisurely love story.
"Still Love" is a very different love story. Britney Bunker and Patrick Payne play a couple at the end of their relationship. But here, the playwright goes into reverse gear and scene by scene takes us back to how it all began. This somewhat analytical approach is fascinating.
The chemistry between Bunker and Payne is what makes this production special. Bunker is engaging as the young woman who falls for the young, struggling writer, played with the usual skill by Payne. This play also plays with time and director Bradd Howard keeps the backward movement going at an accelerated pace until the end - or is it the beginning?
Howard also directs the final play of the evening, "Help, I Am" which features B.J. Anderson as the last man on Earth - a dwarf on top of the Empire State Building. This play is the most unusual of the bunch with its absurd setting and dialogue. But between the antics and insanity, there is an underlying message about loneliness that gives it substance.
As with most Black Box productions, the minimalist set designs and creative lighting enhance the overall impact of the play. Of particular note is the roll-up painted floor for "Cornered" and the red and green lighting for "Camera Obscura."
All in all, "Cheep Theatricks" is well worth the $5 admission.
Robert Patrick's Cheep Theatricks runs through May 20 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 at 2:30 p.m. All tickets are $5. For reservations call 523-1223 or online at www.zianet.com/nstcbbt.
No seating plan has been posted.