Open Doors Short Play Festival
Sonorous Road Theatre, Raleigh
What’s wrong with saving your best for last? Your audience might give up before they get there. That’s the issue with Sonorous Road’s fourth-annual festival of ten-minute plays by regional playwrights. Curation of scripts and performers is key in omnibus shows, a fact that still eludes the presenters who have tried to take up the mantle of Jeri Lynn Schulke and Lynden Harris’s original “10 by 10 in the Triangle” short-play festival.
There’s a long dry spell between Steffi Rubin’s amusing opener, Terminal, and Supriya Jaya’s cozy domestic comedy, Serial. During the wordless opening scene of the former, director Lynda Clark crisply telegraphs the schisms between Melanie Simmons and Bryan Bender’s husband-and-wife duo. But Bender and David Klionsky have trouble following Simmons and Angela Burks through Rubin’s hairpin curves as relationship revelations turn an awkward dinner party into a terminal event.
Directed by Noelle Barnard Azarello, the witty Serial is the highlight. Emily Levinstone and Sarah Richardson play a snarky but loving couple staying in for a night of TV. Though one rags on the other’s love for serial-killer cable, she’s slowly drawn in by the show, which raises a delicate question about their relationship.
Playwright Allan Maule’s generational satire Shared Calendar (directed by Michael Parker) pokes a sharp stick at a couple (Aubrey Hancock and Jason Christ) that embodies the worst traits of Millennials and Generation Z. A calendar conflict provokes a crisis in their self-absorbed, tech-dependent relationship. The script checks off groan-inducing cultural references until an unearned last-minute redemption. It rounds out a trio of shows that’s well worth seeing. Too bad you have to go through so much to get there.
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