Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pink Banana presents: Tales From The Dugout

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Pink Banana Theatre Company comes to the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre this Friday to open its latest show: Tales From The Dugout: A One Acts Festival of Relationship Madness. The show runs late nights after productions of Renaissance Theaterworks’ Barney & Bee. Pink Banana is excited to be working with Renaissance Theaterworks on the program.

The show consists of eight shorts about relationships of various kinds. Here’s a brief look at what to expect:

Along For The Ride is a piece by the talented actor/playwright and Alamo Basement co-founder Mike Q. Hanlon that evidently focuses on what goes unsaid in a relationship. The cast joins UWM’s Jazmin Volmar with Marquette’s Gwen Zupan and Karl Lewandowski. It’s directed by James Boland.

Suburban Statues is a conversation between two women at a diner written by Laura Lynn MacDonald starring Jaime Ansley and R. Alice Wilson. Sarah Dolens-Moon directs. Ansley is a poet/clown/magician and actress. Wilson’s distinctive voice has been heard on a number of stages over the years. It should be an interesting dynamic.

Muffin’s, Man is playwright Patrick Beck’s exploration into the relationship shared between strangers outside a coffee shop as they wait for it to open. Michael Cotey directs fellow UWM alums Rob Maass, Daniel Koester and Travis Knight. There’s some real talent here being applied to a pretty interesting premise . . . could end up being one of the better pieces on the program.

Squirrel’s Nest is a piece written and directed by Stephanie A. B. Wiedenhoeft that focuses on those inner struggles that unite everyone regardless of demographic. I remember Wiedenhoeft best in her lead performance in Insurgent Theatre’s Golden Apollo some time ago. Here she is doing nearly everything but appearing in the piece. It features Libby Amato (who most recently appear put in an impressive performance in Windfall’s When I Give My Heart,) Cathy Beck, Laurie Birmingham and Rachelravenlilysophia.  

Gus & Lissette is a two-character short by Anne Asher featuring Jason Waszak and Melissa Kieth. Don’t know much else about this one. It’s another project with a UWM/Marquette cast crossover directed by Casey Harding. Casey and Melissa are from Marquette. Jason is from UWM.

Unrequited Hate
is a comedy about hate and apathy in an office. I wrote it. The line, “I hate you, but I don’t hate you in that way,” came to mind and the rest wrote itself. Fjosh Redbeard directs the piece starring Nick Firer and Adrian Feliciano. I’m quite happy with everyone involved. Firer is a sketch and improv comedy guy (a member of the troupe Meanwhile) who recently appeared as Santa in Rudolph the Pissed-Off Reindeer. Adrian Feliciano is one of the more unique and recognizable talents to be graduating from the UWM theatre department this year.

A Family Thing is written and directed by Jessica Betts, who I remember best from when she directed the unwieldy mess that was my short Pharmaconfessional in the Pink Banana’s Next Big Thing some time ago. Here she’s telling a much more emotionally sophisticated tale about a pair of sisters trying to figure out what to do with their mother. Starring Ashlea Woodley and Liz Whitford, who has recently made memorable appearances in Alchemist’s Jack The Ripper and Carte Blanche’s Noises Off!

Also included in the program are Interpreters--a piece by Rose Wasielewski, Allison Niles’ Subject to Change and The Big Joke—a piece by an anonymous author directed by Rose Wasielewski and starring Karl Lewandowski.



Pink Banana’s Tales From The Dugout runs March 27 through April 11th at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre

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