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One Act Plays Festival: Short Slices of Life in Long Island City, Queens

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 24, 2020 20:56

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I attended a slate of seven one-act plays. They were short and engaging theatrical pieces.

As a theater-loving New Yorker, I enjoy watching performances of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. I also patronize my local high school, Edward R. Murrow HS, to see shows featuring talented students. But throughout the years I have also attended many way-off Broadway theatrical presentations - some outdoors, some in atypical venues, and I appreciate the many ways theater can be interpreted.

I had the chance to see a friend of mine since high school, Patrick Lam, who performed in a two-person, one-act play. This short work, A Broom with A Schtick by Charles Meany, was one of seven short works I saw on Sunday, February 22 at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, Queens, NYC. My friend was in this production. He played a tormented former boxer who struggles to find redemption and express himself in clear English to a neighbor who is at first indifferent, later intrigued. I was proud to see my friend portray a role that was multilayered and a bit unusual. 

There were several dozen other theater goers at the Secret Theatre, a cozy and casual theatre in a part of Queens that is going through much gentrification. We saw Program E, which featured a few darkly humorous works, as well as a heavier one followed by a more lighthearted production.  All made interesting observations about people, although some presented characters that were largely stereotypical.

The first play, "Start With I Do," was a bitingly funny piece about a wedding. A woman named Audrey experiences deep doubts after the ceremony, and she hides out in a bar off to the side. I felt it was painfully realistic and made crisp observations about expectations for weddings.

The second play, "There Is No Other Path," had funny lines and moments but made me cringe too often. It was an indictment of the marketing industry and how it manipulates preteens as well as young adults starting their careers. I was eager for it to end.

"It Could Be Worse" was the third - a realistic and poignant look at parents cheering on their hapless sons in a Little League baseball game. You got the sense that it was even more about how parents can be very disappointed in their own lives, but want to buffer their children from deeper sadness.

"The World is Lit by Lightning" was a remarkable two-person piece about male homosexuality and repressed homosexuality. In it, famous playwright interacts with an androgynous person making their way through life.

"Permission" was a chilling look at how a mother confesses a painful past event to her daughter and the ramifications that follow. It was spare and packed a punch.

 The night ended with "A Play Within a Play Within A Play" - cute and lightweight, it was the perfect way to close the event.  Overall the festival acting was good to very incisive, and it was heartening to see non-famous thespians at work. It made me appreciate the craft of the one-act play.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 24, 2020 20:56

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Source: Vogue

The NYC Dance Alliance Foundation hosted their Destiny Rising Dance benefit at The Joyce Theater.

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