Playing the Game of Theater
Pink Banana’s One Act Plays
Ditto with local actress-playwright and director Angela Iannone’s Victorian-themed Tears, Or the Woman’s Defense. Are the two genteel women plotting a murder? Writing a murder mystery? Iannone has the audience guessing if the quiet, sensitive Jane (nicely played by Melanie Liebetrau) is really the “concubine” of the sinister Captain (Rob Maass in a brief but powerful appearance) who quickly comes across like he should be tarred and feathered rather then politely served a whiskey. Michelle Lynn Brien is a perfectly sumptuous grande dame, bringing the appropriate period sweep to Iannone’s perversely fascinating story.
There are a number of standout performances where the actors rise well above the material: Tim Palecek’s hilarious take on a would-be thug full of sensitivity in Put Ice on It; Harry Loeffler-Bell’s all-too-lifelike slacker-gamer ghost in Game Over; and Christopher Patnaude’s neurotic, annoying crosswalk rule enforcer in Walk, Don’t Walk. But it’s the final game of the evening that truly delights and captivates. Veteran one-act playwright Rich Orloff makes us crave summer even more with The Ultimate Battle for Total Control of the Entire Universe.
As fellow Pink Bananans strew the stage with a colorful assortment of pool toys (just add water), Ashley (Samantha Martinson) and Jason (Peter Hiller) are pubescent “tweenagers” discovering themselves (and each other’s bodies) while they battle for total control in Jason’s backyard. The two actors look and play the parts so well, it’s as if we’re watching actual children at play, which is what makes this final “game” so much fun to watch. Now, summer anyone? Game on.
“Game Night” continues through June 15 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For more information or ticket reservations, visit pinkbananatheater.com.