Kelsey Johnson and Andrew Cutler in #MATTER. Photo by Bill Brymer
An Evening of Ten-minute Plays
Review by Rachel White
Entire contents copyright © 2017 Rachel White. All rights reserved.
The plays of Actors Theatre’s annual free Tens festival take on the issues of our day, racial tensions, violence, and police harassment, but weave them amid the promise and angst of new relationships.
#Matter, the opening play, is structured as a conversation between two young people that begins online and continues into a future rendezvous. Through monologues and shorts scenes, the play explores the disconnect between a young white man who can’t admit that he is in a position of power and a young black woman who has suddenly become politically aware, and the question of who matters in this country and why. It’s quick paced, with snappy dialogue, and rapid fire delivery by actors Andrew Cutler and Kelsey Johnson.
Another notable piece is Love Languages by Iris Dauterman, one of the more eerie plays of the evening. It is set in the bedroom of a couple Lily (Alexandra Milak) and Mark (Daniel Johnson), where Lily is in the middle of a lucid dream, the kind in which the dreamer can’t tell if she is dreaming or not, and often neither can the audience. Conversations begin normally and then take a turn for the bizarre with Lily admitting her fears of abandonment by Mark, and her sexual desire for his cousin. The production includes strong physicality on the parts of actors Milak and Johnson and direction by Sammy Ziezle, who maintains an unsettling tone without losing the play’s pace and humor.
Seep by Lexy Leuszler is a play told entirely through sound and voices. The challenge with this play was keeping the audience connected to the characters, even in total darkness. It wasn’t entirely successful in this, as it was difficult as an audience member to know where to focus my attention visually and aurally. Director John Rooney and Sound Designer Rachel Regan do well in giving us a sense of place, creating the ambiance of a rural field with gravel crunching, and engines revving, and voices whispering.
In Midsummer’s Eve, a young couple’s (Andrew Cutler and Anna Lentz) enjoyment of a play and brie is interrupted when a young woman (Laakan McHardy) and her baby are harassed by a police officer.
There are also a few comedies embedded within the more intense material. In Gutted by Carrie Barrett, a young couple find the perfect apartment, but something has happened there that makes the realtor act shady. Home Invasion by Krista Knight is a play about two robbers interrupted by ghosts (white sheets and all) and Melto Man and Lady Mantis by Eric Pfeffinger includes a monster CPA, Meltoman (Sam Kotansky) and his client, Lady Mantis (Anne-Marie Trabolsi), who needs her taxes done.
January 10-12 @ 9:00pm
January 13-14 @ 9:30pm
The Professional Training Company
Actors Theatre of Louisville
315 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Rachel White received her MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama, and her BA in English and Dramatic from Centre College. Her plays have been produced in New York at The New School, the Midtown International Theatre Festival and the American Globe Theater, in Los Angeles at Moving Arts Productions and the Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA. In Louisville, she has had productions at the Derby City Playwrights New Play Festival, the Slant Culture Theatre Festival, the Tim Faulkner Gallery, and Finnigan Productions. She is a recipient of the Litwin Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, and was recently a semi-finalist in the Labute New Theater Festival. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Playwrights Gallery in New York.