These ten 10-minute plays by Utah authors are so entertaining I wish I could see 10 more tomorrow night.
Pick your topic. How about eating disorders? Law professor and actress Debora Threedy wrote a revealing little work on this subject.Or would you like to see two men strive to thread a needle? Jennifer Richerson's play was not my favorite - a bit cute - but it did contain one of my favorite moments: A man met the challenge of licking the thread by popping the whole spool in his mouth.
Or maybe you'd like to see a play about a teenage boy coming of age in the home of a single parent mom? Salt Lake attorney Kate Lahey's play is funny and sweet.
My favorite play of the evening was "Feet," Aden Ross' poetic piece about love between a child wife and her brooding, violent husband.
Or perhaps my favorite was "The Waiting." Laurel Randquist has written a tiny, touching play about a couple waiting for the call that will tell them they are grandparents. I cried.
Each subject gets a fast and fresh treatment at the Art Barn under the artful direction of TheatreWorks West's Barb Gandy, Fran Pruyn, Teresa Sanderson, Vicki Pugmire and Jean Roberts. All the women except Pruyn also act in several of the plays, along with Tyler Shaw, Rodger Reynolds, Jeffrey Owen, Daniel Weinstein and Jaime Lara.
"Gnostic Terrorism" by B.K. Henrie is a Saturday-Night-Live-type skit. It's odd and funny both. It may also have been my favorite.
J. Russ Lees' "Lost Scene From Cyrano" is powerful. "The Possibility of Precision at a Distance," by Rick Gould involves the whole ensemble in an R-rated day in the life of America played on fast-forward.
"The Best Years of Our Lives," also by Rick Gould, is a farcical look at two LDS mission companions. It's sure to offend a good-sized segment of Utah audiences. If, however, you can enjoy it as farce, you can use this play and three others to assess the range and breadth of Tyler Shaw's acting ability. As the more traditional of the two missionaries, his eyes blaze with fervor.
In another play, as the father accosted by gnostic terriorists (the opposite of agnostics, these terriorists believe in just about everything), Shaw is a paunchy, scared dweeb.
He's young, he's old. It's fun to watch him shift roles.
The most haunting of the short plays is "Nightscapes," by Kathryn Roach. As a man, perhaps a sleeping man, acts out his restless dreams, his wife directs the action. I'm still asking myself questions about this one: What is this woman's place in her husband's dreams? Why is he so vulnerable to her? Who is the gorilla?
Kevin B. Miller designed the set. The simple wall furnishes a TV screen, a table, a bed, and a unifies the collection of plays.
Utah Shorts are entertaining. Not each of these plays is a gem. But when they are strung together, they dazzle.