I have to hand it to Emerging Artists Theatre Company‘s artistic director, Paul Adams – when putting together the program for the Spring EATFest he perfectly chose the one-acts that comprise the evening of theatre – they managed to tell three great stories and still have you out of the theatre in about an hour.
There are two series in this Spring’s offering; I attended Series A but can only imagine that Series B packs as big of a punch. If there could have been a theme for Series A it might have been called Behind the Platitudes – because each one-act was a beautifully crafted little gem of a story that, on the surface, could have been subtitled (respectively) “You Can’t Go Home Again” / “Out With The Old, In With The New” / “He Was Right There All Along”. But that’s the thing behind idioms and platitudes – really, they’re easily repeatable phrases that often boil down a much more difficult concept. Come to Series A of EATFest and you’ll get a trio of heartfelt stories that illustrate each of these ideas, some times with humor, some times with frustration, but always with heart.
In Staying Put written by Kathleen Warnock and directed by Vivian Meisner we find a woman, Ferro (Laura Fois) who has come home to deal with the death of her parent, and sort out what remains of the last few strands of her life back in the town she once called home. As she sits on the porch with Stuckey (Desmond Dutcher), the companionable conversation moves from “back then” to what could happen now, what should happen and what will happen. Ultimately while there’s something to be said for going back to what’s familiar it’s also obvious that once too much time has past even what was once familiar isn’t the same anymore. However, we’re not always looking to revisit something expecting it to be exactly the same.
In The Takeover written by Barbara Lindsay and directed by Kelly Johnston we come upon a secretary (yes, a secretary) who is retiring after giving her entire life to the company. Margaret (Blanche Choler) is noticeably perplexed at how young, casual about titles (“His name is “Mr. McChesney” she scolds) and distracted by cell phones her new replacement is. Margaret is the definition of “old school”, she knows where everything is because she’s the one who put it there. As Mr. McChesney (Richard Cottrell) chides “This place will fall apart after you leave!” but of course it’s all just for display; the new Administrative Assistant – correction – Executive Administrative Assistant – is just what the old boy needs. Heather (Caitlin Johnston) has already fit right in, bringing a new spark, a shot of energy and even a new system for bringing everything into this century. But the truth is – while change is always going to happen, it’s hardly ever easy. For anyone.
Lastly, Clean written by Audrey Cefaly and directed by Troy Miller is an almost Frankie and Johnny-like tale set in a diner after hours. Marisol (Glory Gallo) is a waitress at the diner; when we meet her she’s flat on her back after having fallen while cleaning up. Roberto (Matt Stapleton) the dishwasher comes upon her and at first tries to help but after being told to not bother calling anyone decides to sit and keep Marisol company till she feels ready to move. In order to pass the time the two coworkers who have known each other for years but have had hardly more than ten words with each other, begin to trade anecdotes about their past. What unfolds is a sweet, tender, lovely story that explains how what we need from another person may be just there, under the surface.
While each of these one-acts are strong on their own taken together they make for a powerful, touching night of theatre.
~~~EATfest 2011 Series A It’s Ladies Night! 3 New Plays by Women TADA Theatre 15 W. 28th St. (2nd floor) New York, NY Series A Monday and Thursday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 9pm Tickets are $18 To purchase tickets online go to www.emergingartiststheatre.org or click here Or call 800-838-3006