Author: Donna Herman

Ensemble Studio Theatre 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays, Series C

The one-act play has long been a favorite form of both novice and seasoned playwrights. Tennessee Williams wrote 43 of them over the course of his 50 year career. Begun in 1977, this season is Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays. This year’s 15 selections are broken up into 3 evenings of 5 plays each, that are running in repertory from May 14th through June 30th. Reviews of Series A can be found here, and Series B can be found here.

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Bella: An American Tall Tale

Bella is billed as a Western musical adventure. Ms. Childs sets out to turn a modern day woman she glimpsed on the street (and how all the men who were passing by reacted to her), into her heroine, a big booty Tupelo gal named Bella (Ashley D. Kelley). And in a tradition as old as America itself, attempts to tell the forgotten tales of the haunted and the hunted, and all those who came from far off lands to build, populate and protect this country’s frontiers.

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Somebody’s Daughter

Playwright Chisa Hutchinson’s thing is exposing murky corners to the light of day. She does it with compassion and insight, but also with also with a firm finger on her funny bone. In her current show, Somebody’s Daughter, at the McGinn/Cazale Theater, I suspect the wise-cracking character of the guidance counselor Kate Wu (Jeena Yi) is somewhat autobiographical. Her boyfriend Reggie Ward (Rodney Richardson) says to her, near the end of the play as she’s standing in front of him crying and trying to crack a joke, “you only joke about things that matter.”

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Capitol Steps

Political Comedy troupe Capitol Steps will be performing their new show “Orange is the New Barack” at Symphony Space in the New York City area for two performances only on June 18th at 3:30 and 7:30pm. In advance of this gig, our writer, Donna Herman, had the opportunity to put a few questions to Capitol Steps writer and performer Elaina Newport recently.

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Mary V

Let’s rip the bandaid off this puppy quickly and get it over with. Mary V, currently playing at Theater for the New City, is only worth seeing as a cautionary tale. For students of the theater, you can often learn more from something that doesn’t work than from something that is seamless. This is one of those. Fair enough, it is playwright Rebekah Carrow’s first play and rarely are masterpieces created first time out of the gate. In fact, David Mamet says in his online masterclass on dramatic writing, (www.masterclass.com) that if you want to write, you have to be willing to fail.

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