Play de Luna Presents…STRANGER DANGER
Art’s Sake Studios
Winter Park, FL
It’s time for another episode of the Mark Harvey Levine Play Festival at Orlando’s coolest and least known performance space in that weird little industrial district behind the new Publix. Let’s run down tonight’s shopping list:
“Scripted” (Written by M. H. Levine, directed by Landon Price) Elaine (Stephanie Miller) and Simon (James Colt Woodrich) wake up to just another ordinary workday, except this one has been scripted out in detail. A spiral bound Final Draft approved script is on the night stand, and they are unable to deviate from the all powerful, all knowing supreme script writer. Things are looking pretty glum until they find out about the Revision function, then their mundane lives have a chance at creativity so long as they can come up with cool ideas as fast as Mr. Levine. Elaine: bouncy and bright. Simon: loving if a bit dull. Think you can produce a script? You have a word processor; let’s see what YOU can concoct.
“The Rental” (Written by MHL, Directed by Tim Riedel) Hung over and lonely Sonya (Anne-Michael Smith) wakes up to her 30th year on earth, and as a gift her best friend bought her a rental boyfriend (Chris Walker). Not exactly a gigolo, he’s the sensitive caring sort of guy that in real life would either be gay or already married. After she gets over the idea of beating him to death with a baseball bat, he does his best to empathize and care, but Sonya just not ready to accept that angels DO exist and she chases him away. Sonya: skeptical and we see why. Rental Harold: too good to be true and under no obligation to stick around. It was beautiful for almost 90 seconds.
“In Paris You Will Find Many Baguettes But Only One True Love” (Written by Mike Lew, Directed by Jennifer Jarackas) You can’t find love in your home town, so why not try Paris France? Liz (Amy Strickhouser) picks up a beret and a street mime (Scott Silson) and her traveling companion Lindy (Clare Ghezzi) is bent out of shape. Mr. Mime only communicates with makeup and motion until Lindy heads out for baguettes. Lindy is jealous and tries to get mime face all over her space face, but the mime admits he’s from rural Canada and is stalking the girls. What do you expect in down town Europe? Actually picture perfect Europeans? Lindy: jealous but the ultimate winner. Liz: naive but sincere. Mr. Mime: well, I know I’m supposed to look down on mimes, but he has really nice make up and I’d hate to see him spoil his look for these spoiled tourists.
“Superhero” (Written by MHL, Direct by John Connon) What’s a little cosplay between neighbors? Rachel desperately needs rescue; her light bulbs are dark and her tap drips all night long and her VCR flashes “12:00. 12:00. 12:00″ like her desperate cry of loneliness in an uncaring universe. Leonard (Robert Walker – Branchaud) battles the Cat Woman and her Claw Minions as he sweat in rubber gloves and multiple layers of K-Mart athletic garb. Rachel isn’t ready to drink the kryptonite, but Leonard needs something super heroic to justify his lack of true super powers. They swap sweaty clothing, but are they ready to swap spit? And is it worth the risk? It’s a real cliff hanger for Rachel: she needs to step outside her underground lair. Leonard: needs to back off the fetish gig and realize when to stop fighting and give in to the girl next door.
“Intermission” Ahhhhh….sweet relief!
“Misfortune” (Written by MHL, Directed by Yvonne Suhor) Cindy (Rachael Thompson) and Barry (Cole Nesmith) chow down in Chinatown but his fortune cookies could have come from Glen Garry Glen Ross. Adding “In Bed” only makes things worse, and the waitress (Christina Geraghty) keeps trying for a tip but Barry knows he’s doomed and it looks like Cindy will finish him off. Good thing she’s not that good a waitress, she not only gave them the wrong bill, but the wrong fortune. The Chopsticks of Doom were aimed at the next table, and Cindy and Barry are safe to chew down more chow mien next week. Cindy: Soon to be ex-girlfriend scary. Barry: Nerdy in a hipster way, marked for death at the open. The Waitress: Dead men don’t leave tips.
“Tongue, Tied” (Written by M. Thomas Cooper, Directed by Simon Needham) Possibly the best short tonight. Tina (Joy Marston Kigin) is infested with two sock puppets, one a sassy black number with hoop earring and enough attitude to trump an August Wilson show, the other a Frenchified number with a Gauloises Straight and enough existentialism to choke Camus. She meets Tom (Jay Sevilla) who is similarly equipped with a violent Mr. Chan and his sensei Pat Morita. The puppets hit it off; maybe these two can lose their demons in a Laundromat and find love, or at least a gig in a shopping mall daycare center. Humans: Human, lovable, and repairable. Puppets: snotty, funny and well manipulated.
“A Fork in the Life” (Written by Mark Aloysius Kennelly, Directed by Ayla Parson) What IS it with these middle names and hyphens? I believe a production team credit should occupy fewer letters than the script. Roxie (Britta Gardner) stands on a pallet and threatens to throw herself into the first row as Angie (Jennifer Jarackas) jogs by and tells her the jump will do little more than give her a set of wet undies. Roxie was dumped by a boyfriend, Angie fears the same and when Jim Serrano comes along and calls them lesbians he gets to test out Angie’s theory that death is unlikely in this scenario. Roxie: a bit whiney. Angie: a bit butch. The ubiquitous MAN played by Serrano: a bit dead. So much for theory.
“Disco Ninja Robot” (Written by Robin Hack, Directed by Derek Angell) FedEx customer service goes to hell in a hand truck as slightly buzzed Ray (Daniel Baldock) terrorizes a paying customer (Jim Serrano). Is he his own evil twin, or just a little paranoid? His coworker Crystal (Perla Ovadia) is little help, and its miracle he doesn’t get his butt kicked from her to workman’s Comp. Ray: a mean jokester with a roll of bubble pack. Crystal: peripheral to the plot. Mr. Customer: filled with righteous consumer rage in the face of a corporate blow off. We’ve all been there, but it’s the only way a minimum wage slave can get his due. Script: in need of edits.
Fun stuff tonight, these guys should do more shows more often. Catch them if you can!
For more information on Art’s Sake Studios, check www.art-sake.com/