Our local acting troupes are getting quite creative. Rude Mechanicals had five playwrights put together a group of one-act plays on Zoom. They chose the directors and performers and with only one run through, put together a “24 Hour Zoom Fest.” They truly did this all in one 24-hour time block.
The plays were most capably emceed by Alan Duda. The production was produced by Claudia Bach with technical staging by Sam Kopal, Liana Olear, and Jeff Poretsky.
“24 Hour Zoom Fest is a good chance to see and support local talent, and it was a most enjoyable viewing. A thumbs-up way to spend your time until live theatre has returned.
The first was “Unity: Or Love in the Time of Corona,” written by Joe Dzikiewicz and directed by Liana Olear. It was my particular favorite and involves a gay husband, Truman Horfall, and his husband, Daddy Ross, and their daughter, Camilla. The two dads have been quarantined together and are having trouble dealing with this constant togetherness. They both discuss their issues to their daughter via Zoom. It is all very humorous like a well done “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The play features Jeff Dunne, Nathan Rosen, and Danielle Taylor. Despite the short rehearsal time all three have great timing.
The next, “Home Coming,” written by Erin Nealer and directed by Wes Dennis, is more dramatic. It involves a brother and sister and their relationship to each other. he sister is visiting their old home and demanding that her brother remember their home and childhood. He obviously does not remember it well, and the sister just the opposite. However, the fact is we never know if the sister is really in their childhood residence or not as the house was supposedly demolished. It has a certain eeriness to its mood. “Home Coming” featured Justin Bigelow and Spencer Dye who brought a sense of reality to their characters even though Dye’s character is in the dark, which makes it a little bit of a stretch for both.
In “The Pipeline,” written by Megan Fraedrich and directed by Melissa Schick, a young man applies for an essential job which is playing a flute to lead marauding rats away from a town. (Sound familiar?) It is a light, satirical, and funny piece that also pokes fun at businesses that make money during troubled times. It features Eric Honour, Margaret Mack, and Melissa Schick. This is theatre of the absurd, and the actors did well with this difficult genre.
“The Stand In,” written by Diana Dzikiewicz and directed by Joshua Engel, focuses on just how much we miss human contact during this pandemic. The point here is we miss it so we are willing to buy robots who we can hug and might substitute for family members. The plot has a few twists. The cast includes Gaby Czarnik, Sean Eustis, and Leanne Stump. Again, this is not a realistic piece, but the performances are quite believable.
The last play is “Lovers’ Dilemma,” written by Claudia Bach and directed by Sarah Pfanz. Two people are put together in a computer match. However, this is not just any match as this is in a world that is divided into the Hub and the System. In the Hub, people do manual labor but make their own choices. In the System, your choices are made by computers who match you to others and to your profession. In the Hub, they work hard, but in the System, there is mostly leisure. Palmer and Keily meet via computer as they are a match. Palmer is not sure this is her path and Keily seems more willing to accept her System planned road. This play features Rebecca Korn and Megan Parlett. In this futuristic one act , it was nice to see the two women develop a convincing bond over a short period of time.
“24 Hour Zoom Fest” is a good chance to see and support local talent and was a most enjoyable viewing. A thumbs-up way to spend your time until live theatre has returned.
Running time: One hour and 45 minutes.
You can catch “24 Hour Zoom Fest” on YouTube.