San Francisco Fringe 2015
Five short new plays, four actors and one director – all in the space of one hour!
Accidents & Other New Work is a compact sixty minutes of five new plays from independent playwrights of the long running workshop The Monday Night Group, in San Francisco. All five plays are well directed by Jennifer Welch. Welch pulls the performances together with only four actors playing fifteen different characters, simple sets and streamlined transitions. By far the best element of this show is the four seasoned professional actors. They mix and match playing in different combinations in each play. The plays vary in topics and most have a comedic element and punch line ending. However, the short length format with a few stereotypical characters and situations does not seem to offer enough time for multi-dimensions of story or character depth (except for one play), even with such accomplished actors.
The first play, Dramaphobia by Nancy Cooper Frank is the shortest, it’s a funny scene about a long married couple going to the theatre, played by a convincing Linda Ayres-Frederick and Aeron Macintyre. Niki Yapo-Held and Joe Napoli play two dramatic actors in this play within a play.
In Pigeons in Love by Jeff Carter, a couple played by Macintyre and Yapo-Held, the amorous husband flirts with his wife as she prefers to read. Macintyre’s animated husband, Buckley is appropriately irritating, while Yapo-Held’s character, April, is delightfully real and should earn empathy from everyone.
Cat Tale by Margery Kreitman is an entertaining story about a cat, which thinks he’s master of the house. The cat in question, Bobsker, is extremely well played by Macintyre as he is full on cat in attitude and physicality in one of the more successfully crafted characters in these new works. The husband and wife living with him are well played by Yapo-Held and Napoli.
Red Sky at Dawn by Ayres-Frederick stands out in the quality of writing – it’s disarming in storyline and the wistful woman of a time gone by, beautifully acted by Ayres-Frederick playing Eleena, with Napoli as her dashing Kennedyesque son, Stinson. The atmosphere of this play is poetically drawn by Ayres – Frederick as both author and actor as she flourishes “The wind is my lover…” This is an unpredictable tender play with interesting dialogue between the mother and son – and some riveting moments.
The last play AFTERYOUGO.COM is a comedic look at what happens to social network accounts. Macintyre plays Steve, with a slick game show host personality who is doing a type of advertorial about his service www.afteryougo.com. A wonderfully acerbic Ayres-Frederick as the Mom, with Napoli as Darryl and Yapo-Held as Maddy, evaluate this service. It certainly brings up interesting questions.
In all, this is an amusing set of well-acted, short one-act plays that could benefit from more honing and development.