nytheatre.com review by Lee Ramsey
Stagedive, a collection of six short sketches by six young
writers, shows a lot of promise and introduces us to several interesting
August 15, 2002
The six pieces: The Pledge, the strongest piece of the evening, is a humorous indictment of abstinence and peer pressure. Jesus is Cool, Man... is a corporate, modern day morality play in which the actors seemed somewhat unsure and a bit underrehearsed. Basic Count is a one woman show which was not performed on the evening I attended because, according to the program, "it is lost and cannot be found." The Conquest of Evil is the tale of a real life comic book villain and his struggle with good and evil. Tin Can Alley is a short blackout sketch about a slick reporter and a beer-loving redneck in the aftermath of a tornado. And Beauty of the Beasts, the evening’s final and possibly most ambitious offering, features a cast of seven competing in a beauty pageant for endangered species in which the victor will be allowed to procreate.
The selections all displayed original ideas and interesting points of view, but would have benefited from some editing, especially The Conquest of Evil. Also, one director instead of six would have given the overall production more focus and a stronger and more uniform style. That said, the plays did all seem to fit together well to make up an energetic program.
The actors, many of whom wrote and directed the plays, were somewhat unsteady. Pieces like this require the courage to make larger than life choices, and only two, Mary F. Unser and Johanna Saum, seemed to have an understanding of what the material demanded.
Despite the evening’s unevenness, FringeNYC is a great outlet for this type of material to be developed and refined.