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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hashtag Theater

Six short subjects at the Alchemist

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“Hashtag Mayhem” is a well-paced program of theatrical shorts placed in the intimacy of the Alchemist Theatre by actor/playwright Jeffrey James Ircink. Six different stories move across the stage quite gracefully in two hours' time with an intermission halfway through. While not all of the shorts are particularly memorable, the overall feel of the program is well crafted by Ircink and well executed by a rather large group of actors and directors.

The strongest shorts of the six are placed at the end of each half. Ircink directs Pass the Salt, Please, which appears right before intermission. It's a simple dialogue between Greg Ryan and Brooke Maroldi as a longtime couple who are eating dinner side by side facing the audience. Dispassionate conversation leads to graphic and comfortable talk of sex in an endearing ode to the tender beauty of long-term familiarity.

Ircink plays to the other end of the extreme with the Bo Johnson-directed Twisted Nice Mirage. Kyle Gallagher-Schmitz and Zoe Schwartz play a couple in an awkward conversation at a party that leads to some awkwardness together after the party.

The rest of the pieces have some favorable qualities about them as well. Gretchen Mahkorn directs a delicate tango of aggression between Matthew Roth and Mack Heath in the opening short. Randall T. Anderson puts in a strong performance in a piece overpoweringly reminiscent of Albee's The Zoo Story. Ircink himself delivers a memorable autobiographical monologue in the first half. With any luck, this is the first of many independent shows for the actor/playwright.

“Hashtag Mayhem” runs through April 6 at the Alchemist Theatre. For ticket reservations, visit alchemisttheatre.com or call 414-426-4169.

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