2009 6th Annual TheatreASAP
September 12, 2009
Trinity University Stieren Theatre
"The Theatre ASAP experience rocked! Thank you for allowing me to be part of it, for the opportunity to work with a talented group of actors, outstanding director, and playwright who provided us with wonderful material to work with, sustenance throughout the day, and the lovely spread after the show. I'm looking forward to next year already!" ~Judy McMillan
I wanted to say "thank you so much" for everything that happened this year. As my first acting performance in two years, it was a really great way to get back into what I have been missing so much. I was on an adrenaline high for a while after the final curtain call, and it truly was a magical evening. Thank you all again, and I cannot wait for next year!!! ~Matthew Sinclair
Articles / Reviews
SATCO cooks up a winning 24-hour playfest
By Deborah Martin on Sep 12, 09 11:09 PM (Permalink)
TheatreASAP, the San Antonio Theatre Coalition's annual 24-hour play fest, can sometimes be hit or miss. It's the nature of the beast: The playwrights have to find a way to plug a particular phrase and prop into their scripts, not to mention a bare-bones cast list; and the directors and actors have roughly 12 hours to work with the material. It's a minor miracle that so much of it works as well as does.
The sixth installment, staged Saturday (Sept. 12) at Trinity University, was probably the most consistent edition. All six of the scripts were cleverly written and well-staged, resulting in a richly satisfying evening.
Joe Libby once again served as master of ceremonies, delivering funny patter between the plays and keeping things moving swiftly.
First up was William M. Razavi's "Daedalus' Other Regret," directed by Vincent Hardy. The piece, about a man (Kareem el Dahab) who suffers an existential crisis while waiting for a table in a trendy new "chicken beak" restaurant, was plagued by sound problems, particularly during a lengthy chunk in the middle. What was audible, though, was well-done. The piece marked a welcome return to the stage by Eric Lozano, but Chevo Mendoza nearly ran away with the whole piece with a very funny turn as the maitre d' recognizable to virtually anyone who has dined out -- he's the one who assures you your table will be ready in "45 minutes" roughly every 45 minutes or so. It also included a strong turn from Anjali Gupta as the man's loving partner.
The second piece was Mellissa Marlowe's "Fate," directed by Barbara Helen Baker. In it, a pair of women (Maxine Greco and Judy McMillan) meet at a beauty salon and discover that they both have a lot in common: They each have a stubbornly single child (Victoria Galindo and Gabriel Ruiz) with an interest in science, and they both desperately want grandchildren. So they scheme to bring their children together. It was sweet and funny.
Next up was James Venhaus' "White Room," directed with a fine sense of pace by Matthew Byron Cassi. It was easily the strongest piece of the evening. In it, a man (Dru Barcus) is sent to a sort of Human Resources office for some sort of infraction, though he doesn't know what it is; he discovers three other people waiting there, too, though they've all been waiting for so long that they've started to dream up theories about what's actually going on, including a woman's (Renee Garvens) well-developed view that they're actually in a live stage play. The piece was inventive and funny and built to a terrific ending in which the lights went up, revealing the audience to Barcus, who freaked out, leaped from the stage and raced out of the theater.
The second half was as strong as the first, starting with Sheri Phillabaum's "Texas Nation," snappily directed by Kevin Murray. The piece envisions a future in which Texas has seceded and become so conservative that liberals are rounded up and imprisoned in detention camps. The story is told through the reunion of a pair of liberals (Jay Overton and Rose Cohen-Brown) with their now-adult son (Steven Valdez), who was about 8 when they were sent off. The piece was the most overtly political of the night, and also really funny.
Sheila Lynch Rinear contributed "Heatwave," nicely directed by Lou Garza. The piece, as the title suggests, is set during the recent heat wave. It has a pair of sisters (Vanessa Reyes and Louisette Zurita) reacting to the news that their brother (Gregory Hinojosa) is so tired of the sweltering heat that he's decided to move to Minnesota. It, too, was funny and smart, and included a visually lovely moment in which Garza had the stage bathed in warm red light for a monologue about the heat. It was probably the prettiest moment of the evening.
The night ended with "Bracework," written by Brian C. Billings and directed by Victoria Apodaca. It was the ideal piece to wrap things up, because it was about theater. In it, three friends (Matthew Sinclair, Paul Singletary and Lisa Renee Hart) break into their old high school to say goodbye to their drama teacher, who had died. Her ghost (Lisa Manning) haunts the stage, and, as they recreate advice she gave them, she mirrors them. It was a lovely, wistful piece of theater. (Side note: Hart was called in early Saturday morning to fill in when an actress who had been cast failed to show up; Hart, who has done ASAP in the past, seems to have slid gracefully into place, and gave a solid performance.
In a lovely touch, the evening was dedicated to the memory of playwright and director Bruce Limpus, who died recently and was described in the program as a "TheatreASAP pioneer." In addition, a shield he had designed for a production of "Henry V" was used as a prop in "Texas Nation," giving him an even stronger presence in the proceedings.