Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Songs of Love With The World’s Stage

By Russ Bickerstaff
theatrical mixtape
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The World’s Stage Theatre Company entered July with a one-weekend-only staging of Songs of Love: A Theatrical Mix Tape by Nat Cassidy. A solidly well-rounded cast performed a series of comedic and dramatic shorts about love. Here’s a quick glance at the show. 


The Bagel
: In a comedic bit that sandwiched the rest of the shorts, Josh Walker and Marcus Beyer played a couple enjoying a breakfast. Love and carnal desire is discussed. Not many discussions of carnal desire involve Bagelphilia. This was one of those. A fun offbeat bit that Beyer and Walker clearly had fun with.


Interrogation: This one was one of the more cleverly written shorts on the program. Layna Martinez played a police officer who was in an interrogation room with a man who turns out to be her husband as played by Walker. The mother of all awkward situations. It was fun to watch Martinez tread the subtleties of a very awkward professional situation for the character she was playing.

Love Song: Marcus Beyer played a man who had written a song for his girlfriend (played by Melanie Liebtrau.) The song serves a kind of a sinister dual-purpose the layers in some very, very surreal moods. By the time that this short had come to the stage, the program had established quite an expectation of a plot twist towards the end. This short delivered on that twist, but it wasn’t nearly as much of a surprize of some of the others found on the program.

F*ck You: In a possible nod to the 1969 film Rhubarb, this short had Melanie Liebetrau and Thom J. Cauley as a couple having an argument that consisted almost entirely of the two words in the title in various intonations and moods. A fun short that Liebetrau and Cauley obviously did the necessary work on. Here we listen to tone and nothing else in order to understand what’s going on between two people. It’s an interesting little exercise.
 

Waking Up Is Hard To Do: Marissa Clayton was tremendously enjoyable in my favorite short of the entire program. The simple production didn’t have a bed set-up, but here we had Clayton as the wife to Thom J. Cauley, who spends a series of mornings sleeping as his wife heads out to work. The plot twist in this one really, really surprising. It’s not often that a stage play throws you a curve that you don’t see coming at all. Clayton was brilliantly comic as a woman obsessed with a parking spot at work. Something awful happens. I may never look at my wife’s purse the same way again.

Scariest Thing: Thom J. Cauley delivered a very heartfelt and complex character on a first date with a woman played by Liebetrau. It’s a very deep socio-emotional story that Cauley is called upon to deliver here. Cauley has taken a long, slow walk with this character and seems to have a profound grasp of his motivations. It was a really sharp performance on his part.

The shorts were woven together with songs by the playwright peroformed by talented acoustic guitarist Joanna Kerner. She’s proven that she can deftly lend her music to other projects. Here she was in very fine form.

Songs of Love  may have run for one weekend only, but the company which staged it remains very active this summer. The World’s Stage’s next show is Seminar by Theresa Rebeck. It runs August 21 - 23 at the Tenth Street Theatre. For more information, visit the World’s Stage online.

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