Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Scene for June 6, 2008

Two more weeks until it's officially summer in Florida, but it's close enough; City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival is now playing.

Christine Dolen's review in the Herald leads the pack of critical praise.
"Under new artistic director Stuart Meltzer, the 13-year-old festival is consistently good, and some of the pieces are riotously funny, deeply disturbing or undeniably touching."

Sun-Sentinel's Jack Zink finds Summer Shorts awakening his sweet tooth:
"Summer Shorts is entertainment by the bagful, like jelly beans ranging from those spicy cinnamon reds to the fruity pastels and the tart licorice blacks."

Brandon K. Thorp's column in the Miami New Times continues the Summer Shorts love-fest;
"Last year, I stupidly tried reviewing every single Signature Shorts play, but fuck that."
Oh, sorry, that's Brandon reviewing himself again. Sorry. I couldn't resist. This year he doesn't go on to review every single play, but he does single out more of them than was probably strictly necessary for a review of the overall festival. Not that's it's not worth reading.

Here's something Brandon wrote about the entire Summer Shorts Festival:
"... the actors are probably the best thing about this year's Summer Shorts. This has nothing to do with any shortcomings in the bulk of the plays. It's just that Tei, Garcia, Stephen Trovillion, Kim Ostrenko, Antonio Amadeo, Terry Hardcastle, Nick Duckhardt, and especially Laura Turnbull are giving some of the most committed, vibrant performances in recent South Florida theatrical memory."
But Brandon also covers the offerings from the new kid on the block, the Pinecrest Repertory Theatre. PRT arises from the site of the old Parrot Jungle, using the ampitheatre left behind when that venerable institution left Pinecrest Gardens for its current location on the causeway.

Pinecrest Rep is a classic outdoor theatre, in that they only perform under daylight. And their one-acts aren't new and untested pieces, but two classic pieces by masters of their craft: Tennessee Williams's 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and A. R. Gurney's The Golden Fleece.

Brandon reports that while romantic, the current format has some...drawbacks:
"(1) the light is at its least dramatic, (2) the mosquitoes are out in force, and (3) several large nearby animals begin cawing for their supper (or whatever it is they're cawing for), often drowning out the unamplified actors."
But it's not all bad:
"Even as-is, the company's two one-acts — Tennessee Williams's 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and A. R. Gurney's The Golden Fleece — are worth seeing.

Edge Theatre's Jim Tommaney guest-directs the former, and although I've said before that Tommaney is a director with too broad a stroke, maybe he has simply been waiting for a decent cast. Or maybe he needs a venue this large to be appreciated."

We don't get a lot of outdoor theater in Florida; but it was good enough for Shakespeare. Best to see it before summer REALLY kicks in.

Moving slightly northwards and to the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, Brandon reviews Judy Garland's Back at the Rising Action Theatre in Fort Lauderdale. Brandon found Tommy Femia's impersonation of Judy Garland personable enough, but seems to have some mixed feelings about it:
"Sit in the audience at Rising Action Theatre for an hour or so, and you may look around at the almost entirely gay crowd surrounding you, and wonder: Why are these people here? "
Well, it's not for lack of choices.

I do want to mention The Sorrows Of Young Werther, re-mounted by the Jesus Quintero Studio at the Miami Light Project. This was a widely praised production, and we're fortunate to have another chance to see it. Christine Dolen blogs about it in Drama Queen; see the side bar on the right to click through to any of the stories on her blog.

Benefactors has another week to go at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and Ordinary Nation continues at Florida Stage.

As always, check for more complete theatre listings.

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