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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pink Banana Theatre’s Program of One-Acts

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No stranger to one-act plays, the veteran Pink Banana Theatre Company brings eight short programs to the Broadway Theatre Center’s comfortable, cozy Studio Theatre this week when it opens Sex, Drugs and the American Way.

Pink Banana is something of an older sibling to younger Milwaukee theater companies, having featured many people who have gone on to found other theater groups. For example, actor and Youngblood co-founder Michael Cotey had one of his first directorial experiences with a Pink Banana short. This year’s one-act program is no exception, and provides a couple of actors with some interesting directing opportunities.

Jason Waszak, currently appearing in the comedy Bye Bye Liver at Mi-Key’s, directs Bethany Ligocki and newcomer Jose Rodriguez in Romantic Chemistry, my entry into this year’s program. It’s the story of two people and their chemical baggage on a date. In Patrik Beck’s Pecking Order, talented comic actor Nick Firer directs and acts, appearing as a manager in a play described as “business as usual.”

The program also includes works by Boston’s Martha Patterson, Sheboygan’s Lisa Golda and Whitewater native Neil Haven, who is best known for his feature-length works Stuck and Who Killed Santa?

Newer actors will mix with established talent, including frequent Wisconsin Hybrid Theater performer Randall T. Anderson and Vince Figueroa of the local sketch comedy group Meanwhile. Figueroa also wrote the comedy 8-Bit Warrior.

There’s a distinct charm to watching eight short productions in a single evening. Seeing largely untested talent producing plays on a small stage offers a different kind of theater experience—a patchwork feel that is more restless and dynamic than that of traditional feature-length programs.

Pink Banana Theatre’s Sex, Drugs and the American Way runs May 21 through June 5 at the Off-Broadway Theatre.

Also opening this weekend is SoulsticeTheatre’s production of Love Song, John Kolvenbach’s offbeat romantic comedy. A man falls in love with a woman who breaks into his home. The romance hits the intimate stage at the Marian Center for Nonprofits through June 5.

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