Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Curtains for a fun theater year

2009 has been a great year for Weisenheimer theater. My Sweetie, the official scorer, counted 81 plays we've seen this year (including all 40 one-act plays of 14/48 and Death, Sex as separate plays). A couple of fun ones rounded out the year. Holiday revelry and some rare astronomy action delayed the reviews of these shows until today.

Death, Sex at Balagan Theatre
Balagan rolled out the concept of Death, Sex in February, and the concept was so funny, and successful, that bringing it back for a holiday treatment seemed a natural. Most of the six holiday-themed one-act plays were written by local playwrights especially for this production. They're a raunchy lot, and we love 'em!

The best of the six in Weisenheimer's estimation was Pillow, written by Frederick Stroppel and directed by Mike Dooly and M. Elizabeth Eller. It was the hilarious tale of Janice, a senior citizen whose revelations of sexual and chemical proclivities grew more outrageous and gut-busting as the play went along. Noelle, written and directed by José Amador, was a meeting of one character, aged 17, 25, and 36. They discussed the big-Os of their age ranges, brought on with the help of a variety of high-voltage appliances, until the eldest succumbed to the heart murmur. Consumption, Consummation by Nik Perleros and Davey Young, directed by Chris Bell, was the heartwarming tale of a praying mantis love triangle gone bad. For "Horny," played by Sam Hagen, the only down side was that his marshmallow brain was consumed twice as quickly. Terri Weagant as "mom" in I Saw Mommy (by Eric Ankrim, directed by Banton Foster) had the best line of the night, and a somewhat novel outlook on a white Christmas.

Death, Sex was great fun.

Sister's Christmas Catechism at ACT.
A spinoff of the long-running Late Night Catechism, which, inexplicably, we have never seen, Sister's Christmas Catechism is a riotous two-hour class during which audience members are scolded for chewing gum, taunted for late arrivals, scorned for talking or having their cell phones tweet, awarded with holy cards and other gifts (Christmas Kit Kats) for their knowledge of the saints, and pulled into duty as a living nativity scene to help solve the mystery of the missing gold from the magi.

Written by Maripat Donovan and directed by Marc Silvia, Sister's Christmas Catechism is a long, funny, impressive monologue for actress Aubrey Manning, who really delivers, and finds the gold in the end.

You'll learn a lot about the saints, and also that Presbyterians is an anagram for Britney Spears. Sister continues at ACT through Sunday.

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