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A CurtainUp Review
EST Marathon 2006 Series A

Ensemble Studio Theatre's 28th Festival of One-Act Plays
"Not All Korean Girls Can Fly", "Breakfast and Bed", "The Other Woman" and "Davy and Stu"

Sometimes reality harbors greater surprises than the surreal or supernatural. Such is one of the lessons learned from this first series of EST's annual Marathon of short one act plays.

Jonathan Tindle, Amy Staats, Genevieve DeVeyra and Cindy Cheung
J. Tindle, A. Staats, G. DeVeyra
and C. Cheung (Photo: Carol Rosegg)
The first offering, Lloyd Suh's "Not All Korean Girls Can Fly," has a large enough dose of the surreal and supernatural to fill an entire evening. Toby (Genevieve DeVeyra) is a girl with a problem: about a week ago, she realized she could fly. (She also has developed a knack for levitating objects.) Her mother (Cindy Cheung) somehow thinks this means her daughter is suffering from "madness," so off they go to the doctor (Jonathan Tindle). The visit to the doctor takes a bizarre turn (or two, actually) which -- trust me on this -- are better left undescribed. (Hint: green face paint and a martial arts choreographer are required.) It's all pretty meaningless, as is the ending, though one can discern hints of a message that's obscured. What really derails this play is the double whammy of Soh's dialogue, which strains too often to be both arch and clever, and RJ Tolan's direction, which puts Tindle in the unfortunate position of portraying the doctor as a cartoon character. Together, they take the wind out of the play's sails. We may not know precisely what will transpire, but the fact that it will be weird is telegraphed from the very beginning. The interaction between mother and daughter is one of the few high points (and Ms. DeVeyra is particularly good), and Amy Staats is fine in the less important role of the nurse.

Karen Young and Julie Fitzpatrick
K. Young and J. Fitzpatrick
(Photo: Carol Rosegg)
Amy Fox's "Breakfast and Bed" is moored in reality and artfully crafted to reveal itself in unanticipated ways. Lex (Julie E. Fitzpatrick) wakes up in a strange apartment, realizing quickly she went home from her foray into a lesbian bar with a woman. But the woman seated at the kitchen table pouring her coffee (Karen Young) is not Chris, the woman she went home with. And she is as surprised as we are to discover the identity of her new hostess. Ultimately, the play is about sexual dabblers. Lex has a boyfriend who wants to know her level of commitment; it seems Chris has checked out both sides of the field as well. Lex feels a need to find out if a same-sex kiss feels different than an opposite-sex one. She will leave with Chris' phone number, but it's not clear we would meet Chris in a sequel to this fine work -- the best of the evening -- either. Both Ms. Fitzpatrick and Ms. Young render fine, multi-layered portrayals, and the direction of Abigail Zealy Bess is sensitive and astute.

Ruthie Henshall and Scott Cohen
R. Henshall and S. Cohen
(Photo: Carol Rosegg)
"The Other Woman" demonstrates that one needn't leave home to engage in sexual exploration: dabbling -- here of the hetero variety -- can be both a mind and body experience. Thomas (Scott Cohen) is a writer of "sexy things" (i.e. pulpy novels), a form that seems to lend itself to late night writing. His wife, Emma (Ruthie Henshall), wanders into his study at 3 A.M. one night in a somnolent state. She's talking disjointedly about unfamiliar things, and he soon realizes she is still asleep. This starts to become a nightly ritual, as does his growing affection for this "other woman". This is unusual territory for playwright David Ives and, though I could have done with a bit less of Thomas' interior monologues, it's intriguing. In its own way, it speaks to the line between the real and the imaginary, and the part our own mind plays in making it murky. Mr. Cohen is particularly compelling as the man who doesn't know which woman he loves, and British musical theater star Ruthie Henshall is surprisingly effective as that woman, whether she is scorned and loved. Walter Bobbie directs with his usual finesse.

Kelsey Kurz and Travis Walters
K. Kurz and T. Walters
(Photo: Carol Rosegg)
Like the two previous entries, "Davy and Stu" also examines sexual exploration, though at a far more incipient stage. The title characters are teenage boys. Their reality is a hamlet in the Orkney Islands. One boy's mother has taken up with the other one's father; the boys' mothers may not be on good terms, but their kids regularly convene on a hill overlooking the local bog, forming a friendship in their differences that could become something more. That bog carries with it some supernatural elements: Jenny Green Teeth by day, and the Tarkswold Troll by night. Says the older, stronger Stu (Kelsey Kurz): "I can't very well be afraid of what I don't know about, can I?" Stu (Travis Walters) replies: "But you can't be ready for it either..." Leave it to the youngest characters to make the most sense. Leave it also to the two youngest actors in this series to do some of its finest work. Jordan Young's direction keenly observes Anton Dudley's short but poetic play.

97 Series C
98 Series A B C
99 Series A B
00 Series A B C
01 Series A B C
02 Series A B C
03 Series A B
05 Series A

Not All Korean Girls Can Fly by *, directed by
by Lloyd Suh
Directed by RJ Tolan
Fight Choreographer: Qui Ngyyen
with Cindy Cheung, Genevieve DeVeyra, Amy Staats and Jonathan Tindle

Breakfast and Bed
by Amy Fox
Directed by Abigail Zealey-Bess
with Karen Young and Julie E. Fitzpatrick

The Other Woman
by David Ives
Directed by Walter Bobbie
with Ruthie Henshall and Scott Cohen

Davy and Stu
by Anton Dudley
Directed by Jordan Young
Dialect Coach: Maggie Surovell
with Travis Walters and Kelsey Kurz
Set and Lighting Design: Maruti Evans
Costume Consultant: Amela Baksic
Sound Design: Brian Petway
Sound Consultant: Graham Johnson
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes including one intermission
Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, 2d Flr. (10/11 Avs.)
Telephone (212) 352-3101
May 23rd - June 10th, 2006
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Tuesday May 23rd 8pm, Wednesday May 24th 8pm, Thursday May 25th 8pm, Friday May 26th 8pm, Saturday May 27th 3pm, Saturday May 27th 8pm, Friday June 2nd 8pm, Sunday June 4th 7pm, Monday June 5th 8 pm, Tuesday June 6th 8pm, Thursday June 8th 8pm and Saturday June 10th 8pm; $15
Reviewed by Les Gutman based on 5/24/06 performance
Schedule of Other 2006 Marathon Series

SERIES B: May 30th - June 19th
"Bone China" by David Mamet, directed by Curt Dempster
"100 Most Beautiful Names of Todd" by Julia Cho, directed by Jamie Richards
"On the Sporadic" by James Ryan, directed by Charles Richter
"Intermission" by Will Eno, directed by Michael Sexton
Performs Tuesday May 30th 8pm, Wednesday May 31st 8pm, Thursday June 1st 8pm, Saturday June 3rd 3pm, Saturday June 3rd 8pm, Wednesday June 7th 8pm, Friday June 9th 8pm, Saturday June 10th 3pm, Friday June 16th 8pm, Saturday June 17th 3pm, Sunday June 18th 7pm and Monday June 19th 8pm

SERIES C: June 13th - 25th
"The Night That Roger Went To Visit The Parents Of His Old High School Girlfriend" by Ann Marie Healy, directed by Andrew McCarthy
"The Bus to Buenos Aires (A Musical)" by Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore, directed by Carlos Armesto
"Detail" by Michael Louis Wells
"Lila on the Wall" by Edward Allen Baker, directed by Kevin Confoy
"The Sissy Letters: Numbers 14, 29, and 47" by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Directed by Adam Rapp
Performs Tuesday June 13th 8pm, Wednesday June 14th 8pm, Thursday June 15th 8pm, Saturday June 17th 8pm, Sunday June 18th 2pm, Tuesday June 20th 8pm, Wednesday June 21st 8pm, Thursday June 22nd 8pm, Friday June 23rd 8pm, Saturday June 24th 3pm, Saturday June 24th 8pm and Sunday June 25th 7pm
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