10 by 10 in the Triangle is The ArtsCenter’s 14th annual festival of short plays, and once again the humor is abundant and the drama punches with the power of a Muhammad Ali left jab. This time, they made it 10 by 10 by 10 by 10 by 10 — plays, directors, minutes, actors, and playwrights. So, let’s get right to it.
“Work” by Catherine Castellani opens the show with gags, slapstick, pathos and a neat twist. It’s kind of a Dilbert for the stage, but maybe a bit more biting. John Allore, Kala Hinnant, Alexander Jackson, Julie Oliver, and Page Purgar burst upon the stage and cavort in great style, obviously enjoying their work. Director Tamara Kissane has done a fine job of mounting this humorously choreographed piece.
“The Third Person” is written by Dan Borengasser, and has a clever, novel twist in it that we all might devoutly wish for. Jules Odendahl-James adeptly directs Fred Corlett and Leigha Vilen, who ably represent the film noir genre at its shadowiest.
A nagging question may remain in one’s mind at the end of “Alban Garden” by Rich Espey, which explores a curious social disjoint, wryly and touchingly, and blatantly obviously. Barbette Hunter and Julie Oliver deliver stunningly realistic performances, under the creative direction of Brook North.
The famous prisoner’s dilemma is explored with subtlety and extreme dramatic tension in “Broken,” the product of James McLindon, under the direction of David Berberian. Alexander Jackson and Shaun Schneider provide taut characterizations of the two prisoners who must discover how much they can trust each other.
Robert Westeen served up a thought-provoking dish with “As We Knew It,” a set of four monologues that explore man’s historical inhumanity to man. Director Hope Alexander draws heart-stirring performances from Fred Corlett, Barbette Hunter, Page Purgar, and Lazarus Simmons.
(There is a 15-minute intermission at this point in the show.)
Act II begins with the world premiere of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” by Jack Karp, a Charlie Chaplin spoof, that hearkens to the days of dialogue printed on the screen, told in terms of the year 2008 real estate bust. Wonderfully campy performances by John Allore, Shaun Schneider, Lazarus Simmons, and Leigha Vilen are directed by Monet Marshall.
Fred Corlett and Julie Oliver are a perfectly loving duo in “Couples Therapy” by Matt Crowley. Oliver’s performance is simply spectacular, and this one-act play is well directed by Meredith Sause.
An almost too heavy and crushing tale is woven into “Stop/Frisk,” penned by Rich Rubin and directed by Lomarev Jones. John Allore and Alexander Jackson deliver profound performances that break our hearts.
An incredibly more tender and heart-rending story is revealed in “Two Mothers at a Roadside Café” by Allan Bates. Director Gregor McElvogue deftly encourages the sensitivities of these fine actresses — Barbette Hunter, Page Purgar, and Kala Hinnant. Bring a large hankie. (You might note an interesting juxtaposition with the previous play.)
The night closes out with “After You,” written by Daria Miyeko Marinelli. Laurel Ullman directs Kala Hinnant, Shaun Schneider, Lazarus Simmons, and Leigha Vilen in this modern romance, replete with starred-crossed technology.
SECOND OPINION: July 12th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Andrea McKerlie Luke: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=7517; and July 5th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Cliff Bellamy: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/x399476248/ArtsCenter-presents-14th-10-by-10-in-the-Triangle (Note: You must subscribe to read this article). (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the July 12th Triangle Review review by Pamela Vesper and Kurt Benrud, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/07/we-give-the-artscenters-10-by-10-a-10/.)
The ArtsCenter presents 10 BY 10 IN THE TRIANGLE at 8 p.m. July 16-18, 3 p.m. July 19, 8 p.m. July 23-25, and 3 p.m. July 26 in its Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510.
TICKETS: $16 ($14 students and seniors and $12 ArtsCenter Friends).
BOX OFFICE: 919-929-2787 or http://www.etix.com/.
SHOW: http://www.artscenterlive.org/events/10-10-triangle-7/and https://www.facebook.com/events/762998220475448/
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.artscenterlive.org/, https://www.facebook.com/artscenterlive, and https://twitter.com/ArtsCenterlive.
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.