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Tapas III, The Reckoning

a 10-Minute Plays
by Guilford Blake, Steadman, Walsh, Lupo, Hoke, Schinderworf, Staryk, Kaplan, Rubin, Carabatsos

COMPANY : Academy Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Hapeville Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5274

SHOWING : June 08, 2018 - June 24, 2018



We live in a world of Reckonings of all kinds and this collection of 10 minute plays gives us insight into the other side of the Reckoning. From the comedy of bringing your new boyfriend home to meeting the sister you never knew existed to a convenience store robbery gone horribly wrong, Tapas brings you to face to face with the moments that change us forever.

Director Fracena Byrd
Artistic Director Robert Drake
Director John Sennett Lee
Director Robert Raissle
Director Zachary Roe
Director Mary Saville
Director Paige Steadman
Director Barbara Washington
Director Gabrielle Young
Props Master Elisabeth Allen
Assistant Stage Manager Cecily Allen
Lighting Designer Erica French
Props Master Kaitlyn Thomas
Cast Mala Bhattacharya
Cast Mala Bhattacharya
Joaquin Martin Charles
Cast Fred Galyean
Cast Ian Mitchell Geary
Cast Rick Jackson
Cast Sidney Marie Joines
Emma Laura Meyers
Agent Dharma Moreau
Dad Robert Raissle
Cast Alison Ramsay
Cast Andres Julian Salgado
Stage Manager Rebecca Schibler
Cast Angela Van Tassel
Cast Leica Wilde
Abdollah Darrick (DJ) Wilson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A La Carte Menu
by playgoer
Monday, June 18, 2018
Academy Theatre’s "Tapas III" production is, as are all short play festivals, slightly variable in quality. Sometimes an actor can let down a script; sometimes the script can let down the actors. Directors can do their best to mitigate shortcomings in talent or material, but the results are still likely to be sub-par. Quality does not vary as much in this production as in many short play festivals.

The ten plays in "Tapas III" start with Steffi Ruben’s "Upright and Blameless." This is a retelling of the biblical story of Job, with stentorian Erick Jackson reading the Bible verses as a modern-day Job (the delightfully expressive Ian Geary) comments and reacts. Two demons (Sidney Joines and Leica Wilde) torment Job as God’s favor leaves him. Margi Reed’s excellent costume design gets a workout in this play, with tutus for the demons, a biblical garment for Mr. Jackson, and a suit whose shirt color brings out the blue in Mr. Geary’s eyes. Erica French’s lighting design and Robert Drake’s sound design also get a workout, with special effects highlighting appropriate portions of the script. Barbara Washington’s direction gets the most out of the script, with Mr. Geary’s performance sparking this play’s success.

Second up is the best play of the lot -- Paige Steadman’s "That Woman." Robert Drake has directed this longer-than-average play to get emotive performances from Ashe Kazanjian as a grieving widow, Zach Roe as her dead husband (appearing only to read a letter he has left to his wife), Taryn Spires as their daughter, and Mala Bhattacharya as a visitor lingering after the memorial service for the husband. This play starts to show the range of Elisabeth Allen’s fine props, which didn’t get much of a workout in the first play, but which will have plenty to offer in this and succeeding plays. The title has a double meaning -- Ms. Bhattacharya is "that woman" at the service, but there is another, unseen "that woman" in the plot. Things tie up nicely and satisfyingly.

The third play continues the serious tone set by "That Woman." G.M. Lupo’s "A Debt to Pay" introduces us to a wheelchair-bound woman (Alison Ramsay) who is visited by the man who crippled her in a car accident 15 years earlier. Fred Galyean gives a heartfelt performance as the man, and Jennifer McCurdy has blocked the play with simple movements that don’t attempt to goose up the somber material.

Stephen Kaplan’s "Death Defying," which comes next, has a premise that sounds like fun: dead circus performers are put in a waiting room until they can remember their given name, as opposed to the stage name they’ve gone by for years. Under Fracena Byrd’s direction, the play takes on a serious, sentimental tone. Costumes are once again notable, and Ashe Kazajian and Leica Wilde give notable performances as, respectively, an older resident of the waiting room and a new one.

The first act ends with a purely comic play, Connie Schinderwolf’s "The Grout Fairy." A housewife (Taryn Spires) is expecting a visit from her finicky mother-in-law and declares she would do anything to get the grout in her kitchen floor sparkling clean. Presto! In comes Andrés Salgado as the title character. Zach Roe has directed this silly show with lots of action, and it shows off Juana Harper’s set design to advantage, as the grout fairy enters awkwardly through one of the three upstage pairs of shutter-like windows.

The second act takes an historical event -- the publication of Shirley Jackson’s story "The Lottery" in The New Yorker magazine -- and stylizes its writing and aftermath. Playwright Donna Hoke and director Mary Saville have populated the story with Ms. Jackson (Pearl Oppenheimer), her publisher (Fred Galyean), two publishing employees (Martin Charles and Dharma Jackson), a baby (a plastic doll), and two stage hands who toss paper-covered rocks onto the stage. Ms. Saville has directed it nicely to punctuate the reading of comments on the papers with the thump of rocks on desk surfaces. It’s stylish and interesting, but seems a bit derivative in its quoting of Ms. Jackson’s actual story.

"Recalculating" comes next. This generally comic play by Eugenie Carabatsos takes place in an automobile, in which a Garmin GPS (Sidney Joines) guides a long-married couple (Ashe Kazanjian and Laura Meyers) on a road trip. Gabrielle Young has staged the play simply but effectively, and gets good performances out of the full cast, especially when the GPS breaks down and the couple actually have to talk to one another. A satisfying ending ties it all together.

Jim Walsh’s "Broom Closet" brings a dark note to the evening. Ian Geary plays a lonely gas station attendant who is approached by a homeless woman (Leica Wilde) for directions to a nearby shelter. When it comes out that he has found a wallet stuffed with cash, their daydreams of an easy life turn dark when the owner of the wallet shows up to reclaim it. Andrés Salgado’s turn as the irate owner shows his range as an actor under John Sennett Lee’s fine direction. Ms. Allen’s props impress too.

Next-to-last is Evan Guilford-Blake’s poetic "The Parrots of Heaven," in which an Iranian immigrant (Darrick Wilson) quotes the poet Rumi to his friend Joaquin (Martin Charles). This dimly-lit, subtle play with a gay theme is well-enough acted under Paige Steadman’s direction, but it seems like a slender offering in comparison to some of the other plays.

Last up is Joe Starzyk’s satirical comedy "For the Love of Noodles." The situation is that a husband (Rob Raissle) and wife (Angela R. Van Tassel) are awaiting the visit of their daughter (Mala Bhattacharya) and her new love interest (Erick Jackson). These are ultra-liberal parents who are fully prepared to embrace the love interest, especially if they turn out to be a minority and/or disabled and/or a lesbian. When it turns out to be Noodles, they are thrown for a loop. Costumes are terrific in this play, and Rob Raissle has blocked it well, although as an actor he doesn’t always seem fully sure of his lines. Performances are all above par, but the play doesn’t quite jell.

"Tapas III" is a well-produced series of plays, with above-average technical elements. Extensive scene changes are done quickly and with precision, with the cast assisting stage manager Rebecca Schibler and her assistant Cecilly Allen. The plays are an interesting mix of comedies and dramas, although they rely perhaps a bit heavily on better-known previous works (the Book of Job, Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery," the poet Rumi). I could only wish that the evening were sequenced a bit better, to have more of a flow than an alternation of serious and light productions. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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