ArtsCenter Stage’s 12th Annual 10 by 10 in the Triangle Festival starts slowly with the earthbound “My Name Is Yin,” written by San Francisco, CA playwright Tom Swift and directed by Ian Bowater. The author throws everything but the kitchen sink into this 15-minute Theatre of the Absurd-style mashup of comedy and fantasy and God knows what else whose catalyst is the mysterious appearance of 70 shoes filled with butter on a Swedish mountainside.
Mark Filiaci chronicles this tedious affair as a world-weary journalist, sitting on the audience-right side of the stage and typing as the play’s events unfold to his right, Mary Forester is delightful as an expatriate American brown bear who wanders through the proceedings, and Michael Brocki and Leanne Norton Heintz provide some chuckles as a couple of hunters whose romance hits the rocks (pun intended) on this not-so-magical mountain. But “My Name Is Yin” wears out its welcome long before the (figurative) final curtain falls in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC.
Next up is “will/did/is,” written by Brookline, MA dramatist Patrick Gabridge and directed by Joshua Benjamin. Alphonse Nicholson and Amanda Scherle play two time travelers from the future who take the audience for an amusing ride on the subway in present-day Boston.
“New Year’s Eve,” penned by David MacGregor of Howell, MI and staged by Jerry Sipp, stars Owen Daly and LaKeisha Coffey as a curmudeonly old fossil and his caretaker.
“What You Don’t Know,” written by Durham playwright Mora Harris and directed by Jason Tyne-Zimmerman, is a devilishly funny two-hander, starring Amanda Scherle and Brett Stafford as a road crew hilariously shooting the breeze as they shovel up roadkill and speculate on what animal it is whose squashed remains they are scooping up from the asphalt.
“The 5564 to Toronto,” written by Santa Monica, CA dramatist Karen JP Howes and directed by Lori Mahl, ends Act One on a high note. Mary Forester is charming as an increasingly nervous young female traveler, confronted in a deserted bus station by a mysterious stranger (nicely played by Alphonse Nicholson). He insists that her bus is headed for a disaster that will prove fatal to her, and she has the choice of heeding his LARMING warning or dismissing it as the ravings of a bus-station loony tune.
“Fruit,” written by Austin, TX play writer Abe Koogler and directed by Leslie Cloninger, opens Act Two with a forgettable comedy that uses an apple as a metaphor for the well-known gay-bashing slur. Michael Brocki, LaKeisha Coffey, Leanne Heintz, Alphonse Nicholson, and Brett Stafford truly make much ado about not much of anything.
“A Gun on the Table,” written by Margy Ragsdale of Knoxville, TN and directed by Chris Chiron, is another quirky comedy. When the figurative curtain rises, AN OMINOUS silence has fallen between a couple played by Mark Filaci and Bonnie Roe. He has a revolver on the table. So, will their relationship end with a bang?
“Zero Mile Mark,” written by Pittsburgh, PA playwright Carol Mullen and directed by Gregor McElvogue, stars LaKeisha Coffey, Mary Forester, and Amanda Scherle as a feisty trio of mountain-climbing lesbians who have a fateful encounter way up on the mountain.
“Dr. Jekyll and Little Miss Hyde,” written by Sean Abley of Los Angeles, CA and directed by Mark Filiaci, is a gender-bending comic riff on the famous Robert Louis Stevenson horror story, set in Victorian London. Owen Daley and Leanne Heintz cross-dress for success — and arguably earn the biggest laughs of the evening!
“Detective Stories,” written by Brooklyn, NY dramatist Philip J. Kaplan and directed by Michael O’Foghludha, is a series of short but ingenious whodunits in which Michael Brocki, Mark Filiaci, and Bonnie Roe take turns playing detetives and murder victims.
Lighting designer Liz Droessler, costume designer Chelsea Kurtzman, properties designer Brittany Bugge, stage manager Jenn Evans, and onstage singer and musician/sound designer Nathan Jeremy Logan also deserve kudos for their contribution to this mostly enjoyable smorgasbord of 10 short plays, selected from 750 scripts submitted by playwrights from the United States and several foreign countries.
SECOND OPINION: July 16th Cary, NC Boom! Magazine review by Martha Keravuori and Chuck Galle: http://www.boomnc.com/boom-bits-reviews-books-movies-music-misc/a-hundred-thousand-laughs-ten-by-ten-by-ten-by-ten-10-by-10-in-the-triangle-at-the-artscenter-in-carrboro-by-martha-keravuori-and-chuck-galle/; July 10th Durham, NC Indy Week review by Byron Woods (who awarded the show 3.5 of 5 stars): http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-rewarding-evening-of-one-acts-at-10-by-10-in-the-triangle/Content?oid=3672097 and July 3rd mini-preview by Emma D. Miller: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/10-by-10-in-the-triangle/Event?oid=3668333; July 8th Durham, NC Five Points Star review by Kate Dobbs Ariail: http://thefivepointsstar.com/2013/07/08/10-x-10-12-the-artscenters-festive-annual-short-play-extravaganza/; July 7th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Alan R. Hall: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=6272; and July 1st Chapel Hill, NC Daily Tar Heel preview by McKenzie Coey: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2013/07/playwrights-from-around-the-world-feature-plays-in-carrboro-theater-festival.
ArtsCenter Stage presents 10 BY 10 IN THE TRIANGLE at 8 p.m. July 18-20 and 3 p.m. July 21 in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater at The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510.
TICKETS: $16 ($13 students and seniors), except $10 ArtsCenter Friends and a $2 discount for tickets purchased in advance.
BOX OFFICE: 919-929-2787, ext. 201, or http://www.etix.com/.
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