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The Summer of Our Discontent

a 10-Minute Plays
by various

COMPANY : Onion Man Productions [WEBSITE]
ID# 5094

SHOWING : August 17, 2017 - August 27, 2017



The Summer of Our Discontent
An eclectic mix of short plays that help celebrate the last days of summer.
August 17th to 27th
Thursday to Saturday 7:30 Sunday 3:00 pm
Tickets $12 - $16
By Atlanta Playwrights, Nick Boretz, Allan Dodson, David Fisher, Kate Guyton, Daphne Mintz,   Marki Shalloe and Shemetra.

Directed by, Nick Boretz, James Beck, Allan Dodson, David Fisher, Dan Guyton with Kate Guyton, Scott King, Linda Place, Scott Rousseau and Starshine.

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by playgoer
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Onion Man Productions’ summer offering, this year entitled "The Summer of Our Discontent," is a little different from past years, in that most of the short plays have received previous productions and consequently have a track record of success. The majority of these plays are enjoyable, even upon multiple viewings of multiple productions.

First up is a monologue, "How We Became Americans," written by David Fisher and acted by Kate Guyton. Daniel Guyton’s direction adds a lot of movement to the story, with a set representing a horse-drawn carriage. The clever script and Ms. Guyton’s wry delivery bring the story to vibrant life. It’s an auspicious start to the evening.

The second offering wastes much of the good will engendered by the opening monologue. Nick Boretz’s "Worldmart" is quirky and overlong, concerning a store greeter’s revenge on a childhood bully. Director Scott King has gotten fairly good performances out of Bob Winstead and James Beck, but there’s a lack of fluidity in the blocking. The voice Mr. Winstead uses for his puppet tends to get lost in the small space.

Third up is Shemetra Carter-Fair’s "Dear Bruh," in which two sharecropper brothers (Jimez Alexander and Armanio Vincent-Cole, both proving themselves capable actors) argue over the advantages and disadvantages of staying put or moving north. There’s little action, but a fair amount of movement in James Beck’s direction. The foul language and "twist" ending can leave a bad taste in the mouth.

The first act ends with David Fisher’s time-proven "Jubilee Catalog Sales." Scott Rousseau has directed a crackerjack cast that mines every bit of comedy from the script. Katy Clarke is a hoot as a catalog phone representative, with Kate Guyton as a sweetly timid caller and Lisa Gordon as her brash, take-charge neighbor. Curt Shannon’s sound design impresses in this show, with a voice-over from Charlie Miller and squeaks from an unseen model windmill.

Daphne Mintz’s "Junk to Junk" starts the second act. Jerry Jobe and Scott King portray two jewel thieves snagged in an air conditioning vent following a robbery. Linda Place’s blocking is consequently minimal, with the game actors atop one another following an introduction in the intermission blackout that shows the robbery taking place. Hand placement doesn’t always match the script’s description, and the play stops just as a connection is being made between the thieves.

"You Are Not the Guardian Angel I Was Expecting" appears in the middle of the second act. The intriguing story by Kate Guyton shows us a cancer-ridden man (Brian Jones) begging for death as his unseen granddaughter (voice-over by Jacy Lecraw) prays to God for a kitten to replace him. The events that follow his death involve a guardian angel (Katy Clarke) attempting to guide him to Heaven. There’s poignancy and comedy and a satisfying dramatic arc that make this world premiere likely to receive repeat productions in the future. Starshine Stanfield’s direction keeps the show moving briskly (despite some well-disguised but obvious line bobbles on opening night).

The evening ends with David Allan Dodson’s "One Beer," another holdover from previous Onion Man festivals. Mr. Dodson has directed it ably, and also appears in a small role. Raleigh Wade and Jillian Walzer have a nice chemistry as a pair of strangers brought together briefly by their individual and then shared intentions to take the last beer in a cooler. It ends the evening on a breezy note.

"The Summer of Our Discontent" does not break any new ground for Onion Man Productions and is far less ambitious than the offerings of the past couple of years, but it trades quantity for quality. James Beck’s lighting design keeps the action visible throughout, and there are some very nice set and costume touches. The cast and crew are a collection of Onion Man stalwarts, building on the strengths of this company. A better introduction to Onion Man Productions couldn’t be conceived for newcomers to this tiny Chamblee theater. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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