Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Last week, I saw Week One (now closed) of Estrogenius at Manhatan Theatre Source. The range of plays, as always, interested me. I have seen other years of Estrogenius because my friend Cheryl Davis has had pieces in it several times. This year is its tenth anniversary.
The first play, Roar of the Crowd by Suzanne Lamberg, was very clever. It withheld just enough information to make its punch line pay off. It also reminded me of the endless arguments I've been in over what constitutes a ten-minute play versus a skit. This seemed pretty skit-like to me. Bette Siler's The Gift of the Maggie's is a take on O.Henry's The Gift of the Magi, but the adaptation does not match up on some pretty basic points of the original. It was certainly not a skit; it wasn't my brand of humor, but the audience laughed a lot. Junk Mail by Lynn Snyder was all over the place as a play, yet not clean enough to be a skit, but Anita Gonzalez's direction and the committed acting of Alana Jackler and Stephan Alan Wilson made it work. The last piece of the evening was Daniel Damiano's Enlightenment of Mrs. Cartwell, set during the Regency in Hyde Park. Conjures up Georgette Heyer novels, doesn't it? The plot of the play is Mrs. Cartwell overheard another woman say she had a big butt. Hilarity ensues.
My favorite, not surprisingly, was Elaine Romero's Revolutions. A play with genuine, deep emotion! That moved the audience! Set somewhere other than the contemporary US! I did wonder if it might be a longer play, since there's so much good stuff in it. I hesitate to give a complete plot summary (should you ever see it, I don't want to blow the ending), but it's about Pilar, a woman in a Latin American country, who goes to the General, looking for her missing son.