On Sunday night, nearly 150 households that had signed up for The Colonial Players Virtual Pub Reading brought their A game to a mini-festival of four, one-act plays and a Mad Libs-type of audience participation creation of a short one-act play. The overall theme was isolating in the time of Covid-19. So, for at least nearly two hours, Miss ‘Rona was bested by laughter and a sense of community.
It was a nice way to end the weekend.
First up was a daffy take on home schooling (TCP audience favorite, Nilsson Benil, and his mom, Shannon Benil, wowed most of the audience). The subject was Alexander the Great as told through the story of two of his soldiers (Hoplite 1 and Hoplite 2) trying to decide whether to keep going to the “other” ocean or, after 20 or 30 years, go home — you know, see family, see all the old familiar places, get an earworm and hum…It was an over-the-top take on trying to homeschool your kids while keeping your sanity.
Next was a play called “The Voice Lesson,” and this had echoes of a Carol Burnett and Friends skit. Between the incomprehensible exhortations to elongate your jaw and find your soul and the daffy syllables the three students were singing, there were some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. The voice teacher had that yes-I-drank-the-Koolaid aura that just pulled those three along, even when they were obviously totally at sea.
The third took us on a Zoom meeting gone wrong. You had the put-upon team leader and the three team members who have probably been alone too long as patience, empathy, and interest are wearing mighty thin. There was a hint of danger in odd noises cropping up and a not-so-murderous subplot involving said noises.
Finally, before the Mad Lib took over, we were treated to a play regarding a 911 trainee operator being evaluated. I do believe this probably took place in a small town as she had plenty of time to work with an insane caller whose family of five had run out of toilet paper and had eaten (willingly, no less) turkey fajitas and bison. The results as described weren’t pretty and involved some heartfelt wailing. But the operator calmly gave a brief history of wiping clean and step-by-step instructions on using common household utensils to take care of these matters. The only hint I’ll give is that a long wooden spoon and a kitchen sponge were involved. It was the most physical of the plays, with the hapless caller desperately dragging himself into the kitchen to find said implements. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to why we couldn’t walk.
The Mad Lib was a completely daft take-off on a superhero and a villain called Glitzy. Cicadas, crabs, rats, Cher, the river Styx, doll collecting, the Annapolis city dock, and drinking were involved, among other random elements. It quickly hit the heights of absurdity and never came back down.
The actors involved in this mini-fest were Nilsson Benil, Shannon Benil, Carol Cohen, Rebecca Downs, Ron Giddings, Trent Haines, Chris Haley, John Halmi, Troy Hopper, Christina Enoch Kemmerer, Jamie Erin Miller, Vince Musgrave, Sami Peterson, Kylie Sjolie, Alicia Sweeney, Brad Thompson, Amy Tucker, and Rob Tucker. They all seemed to be having a blast and their infectious good cheer helped carry the madness along.
It was a nice way to end the weekend. And given the enthusiasm of the audience, they probably carried that glow over to Monday morning.
Running Time: Approximately one hour and 35 minutes straight through.
Show Advisory: Adult language at times; double-entendres.
For more information.For more information please click here.