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Arts and Entertainment

Theater Review: Hurricane Season Play Fest Ends this Weekend

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Dave Buzzota and Rachel Kanouse in Grunge is Dead. | Photo: Susan Lee

Dave Buzzota and Rachel Kanouse in Grunge is Dead. | Photo: Susan Lee

It's the final weeks of Hurricane Season at the Eclectic Company Theatre. The short play competition, now in its seventh season, presents nine short works during the course of six weeks. Three playwriting finalists have been pre-selected by a jury for the competition, and one of these three plays will be presented at each performance. But audience members can have their say as well. At the end of each show, ballots are passed out and audience votes on best play of the evening, along with actor, actress and supporting cast.

At most competitions/festivals, the material--and acting--varies wildly, but we were pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the short works and performances during last weekend's program. On the bill were:

  • Finalist Grunge is Dead, written by Katherine Sherman and directed by Kerr Seth Lordygan, is a two-person play that slowly unravels the relationship between a young couple. Rachel Kanouse delivered a powerful performance as the young grunge-ette Tessa in her dirty, little apartment. She looked and played the part in perfect pitch. We learn at the end why she's tormented by her boyfriend Leo. Unfortunately, Dave Buzzota couldn't hold his own against Kanouse's performance. And while this might be just a little thing--his look was too clean-cut for the part.
  • The Limp, written by John Lane and directed by Jeff Newman, is a corporate-world comedy about how Roger's (Mason Hallberg) slight limp serves as a company asset--and may even save his job. He and his castmates Danielle Citron and Jason Williams play well against each other in this (tragi-)comedy about the business world. And despite a flubbed line, Williams commanded the stage by capturing the essence of smarmy white-collar worker guy.
  • The Confession was the last and longest of the plays. Set in Ireland in 1925, a woman scorned exacts revenge on her two-timing husband (Jason Britt) and her niece (Jenny Halterman). Elizabeth Southard plays the part of cold-hearted woman well--and frankly, we wouldn't want to be married to her either. We're sticklers for faux accents, but the cast's lilts were all pretty decent. Southard's the one to watch in this one.
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Hurricane Season New Play Festival & Playwriting Competition
The Eclectic Company Theatre
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 pm (through Aug. 22)
Tickets: $18
Student, senior and group discounts available upon request.