Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bay Players Present Christopher Durang One-Acts

One of Milwaukee Theatre's most venerable organizations presents the one-acts by contemporary playwright Christopher Durang

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The name of playwright Christopher Durang stands out in my mind as one of the more interesting contemporary stage authors. This is kind of odd, as I can only recall actually seeing a few of his plays. And while I don’t have terribly strong feelings for The Marriage of Bette and Boo, there was a love of storytelling in it that made it an interesting night at the theatre. Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge was intentionally silly without much depth, but kind of fun nonetheless. The one play that my entire impression of the playwright seems to stem from is Betty’s Summer Vacation—a deeply surreal comedy that is as funny as it is disturbing. The Windfall Theatre production I saw of that really amped-up the surreal without doing anything in particular with the staging.

This month, the Bay Players present three of Durang’s one-acts. Of the three--The Actor’s Nightmare has the most in common with the overall spirit of Betty’s Summer Vacation. Inspired by the nightmare of being called onstage to perform and having completely forgotten all of one’s lines, TAN is about a man suffering from amnesia of some sort is thrust onstage in a production of three simultaneous plays. It’s a staggeringly original premise that should be interesting to see performed.

The other two are also forged from a love of theatre. In Desire, Desire, Desire we see Blanche DuBois trying to seduce a young census worker. For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls is more of a straight-ahead parody of The Glass Menagerie. Those last two seem more in the spirit of Mrs. Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, which looked to mix characters from A Christmas Carol with  at least one from It’s A Wonderful Life for comic effect.

The Bay Players’ three Durang shorts run April 8th through 16th at the Whitefish Bay High School Auditorium on 1200 East Fairmount Avenue. All shows start at 8pm. For further information, call 414-299-9040.  

 

 

 

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