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Tapas: 9 Plays About Rebirth & Renewal

a 10-Minute Plays
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Carey, Fisher, Guildford-Blake, Hardy, Kimmel, Lachenmeyer, Myers, Steadman, Walsh

COMPANY : Academy Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stockbridge Community Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4502

SHOWING : October 04, 2013 - October 13, 2013

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Join Academy Theatre and the City of Stockbridge as we christen the new Stockbridge Community Arts Center with Tapas: Nine Short Plays about Rebirth and Renewal. Running in conjunction with Bridgefest, Tapas will present nine new plays by nine local playwrights, featuring local directors and actors.


CAST & CREW LIST
Cast Jim Walsh
Director Fracena Byrd
Director Robert Drake
Director Lorilyn Harper
Director John Sennett Lee
Director Lynna Schmidt
Director Paige Steadman
Light Designer Robert Drake
Sound Designer Robert Drake
Master Carpenter David Fisher
Costume Designer Margi Reed
Young Woman Camille Annan
IT jane bass
Cast Aretta Baumgartner
Man David Buchanon
Billy Ray Gulesby Joel Coady
Cast Danny Dolan
Lucy Dyana Nikole Edwards
Community David Fisher
Tali Katie Patterson
Angel Tafee Patterson
Cast Rachel Pendergrass
Teacher/Pastor/Judge Alison Ramsay
Susan Rachel Shuey
Calli Whitney Umstead
Alli Jacquelyn Wyer
The Soldier Pat Young
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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A Smorgasbord of Delights
by playgoer
Sunday, October 13, 2013
4.0
Academy Theatre’s new digs in Stockbridge are being christened with the production of "Tapas," a collection of nine short plays (eight at certain matinees). The auditorium currently doesn’t have much in terms of stage space or lighting equipment, but it does have terrific seating. With the audience’s comfort and sightlines a priority for this company, it’s a good sign for the ambitious plans for the Stockbridge Community Arts Center.

The first of the plays is "Birds of a Feather." It’s evocative, concise, and hopeful. Nathaniel Lachemeyer’s writing flows nicely, and director Lynna Schmidt has coaxed excellent performances out of Max Reed, Rachel Shuey, and Aretta Baumgartner. The subject matter of bird watching and the extinct great auk keeps interest and builds a world of its own.

Next up is "Farm Girl," by Evan Guilford-Blake. While director Julie Skrypek creates pleasing stage pictures, only the performance of Jacquelyn Wyer ultimately impresses. The playwright hasn’t given much to the other two characters to play, and their roles might better be relegated to speechless vignettes narrated by Ms. Wyer’s character (Natalie). The visual appeal of the piece predominates over its content.

The third play, "Piedmont Park," by Peter Hardy, did not maintain my interest. Acquaintances meet in the park, with the male (David Buchanan) having moved to the suburbs and coming back to the park for a farewell visit. The female (Satia Freeman) narrates and interacts alternately, which makes for an awkward flow. Director Lorilyn Harper doesn’t seem to have had enough of a handle on this piece to shape it effectively.

The fourth play, Jim Walsh’s "Chasing Satan," was not performed at the matinee I attended. It is apparently a Civil War monologue. Jim Walsh is credited in the program as production manager, stage manager, master carpenter, sound/light operator, and set designer, so his contributions were still appreciated. The set isn’t much more than a collection of flats that disguise the exits, but it’s functional.

The last play of the first act is Paige Steadman’s "Waystation." In a series of plays about renewal and rebirth, this is the requisite play taking place in Limbo, with a recently departed soul headed either for heaven or hell. There are nice comic touches and a cute twist ending that really doesn’t have much to do with what went on before. Director Robert W. Drake stages it nicely and gets a particularly good performance out of Tafee Patterson, as a computer-operating angel.

Act two starts with a bang. "Butterfly Dilemma" is a perfect combination of script (by Hannah Carey), direction (by Paige Steadman), and actors (Regina McCray, Whitney Umstead Sinkule, and Jacquelyn Wyer). Three butterflies are emerging from their chrysalises, with one more reluctant than the others. As in "Birds of a Feather," there’s just enough of a scientific underpinning to ground the action, without overwhelming it. "Butterfly Dilemma" is utterly charming, start to finish.

Henry W. Kimmel’s "Saved on the Day of Atonement" is more a schematic game of musical chairs than a play. John S. Lee has directed it with clarity, and the actors do a creditable job, but this is a fairly bloodless exercise. A woman is denied seating at a temple, then is offered multiple seats. It’s neat and tidy and ultimately unengaging.

"A Return to Silver Hill" has the smell of authenticity about it. David L. Fisher has devised a tale about the site of a lynching and black cemetery that has been turned into an upscale subdivision. The writing is superior to the direction by Fracena Byrd and the expressionless performance of Danny Dolen. Jahiani Miller does well as the central character, but doesn’t give a definitive performance.

The final play is "Juke Box Hero" by Matt Myers. In this case, the performances set the material on fire. Joel Coady is a marvel as Billy Ray, a ne’er-do-well who is searching for his purpose in life, and Jane Bass does lovely work as his mother (and in other roles). The other two actors also do fine work as various individuals in Billy Ray’s life. The performances make the script soar. Director Robert W. Drake may have shaped the performances some, but I tend to credit the actors for bringing extra energy and verve to their roles.

My biggest complaint about the show is name misspellings in the program. My apologies if I’ve listed someone’s name incorrectly. Some names are given different spellings between play listings and biographies. Others are consistent in the program, but disagree with entries on this site. The program is attractive and put together nicely, but could use a good proofreading by the personnel involved in the production. Credit people correctly, for the participants in "Tapas" all deserve praise in putting together an entertaining evening/afternoon of short plays.
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