Review: Summer Shorts 5---Series A

Noted playwrights offer up short and sweet summer fare.

  • Photograph: Rahav Segev

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

    RANT CONTROL Jeff Binder, left, is an enraged screenwriter.

  • Photograph: Rahav Segev

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

  • Photograph: Rahav Segev

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

  • Photograph: Rahav Segev

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

    Summer Shorts 5: Series A

Photograph: Rahav Segev

Summer Shorts 5: Series A

RANT CONTROL Jeff Binder, left, is an enraged screenwriter.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Christopher Durang and Neil LaBute serve up the theatrical equivalent of light summer fare in their hilariously twisted three-character contributions, the highlights of the first installment of two-part annual playfest Summer Shorts. (And longer shorts are definitely the fashion this season, with all four plays totaling two hours minus an intermission.) The wrenching relationship insanity Durang knows so well pervades Triple Trouble with Love, three monologues for characters sunk in Cupid's abyss, including Jackie (Beth Hoyt), a relationship junkie addicted to junkies ("So my next husband was a heroin addict.... I learned my lesson with the crystal-meth guy"). Durang proves well suited to direct himself—Hoyt, Aidan Sullivan and Nick Choksi unfurl his words to precise rhythmic hilarity—but without the longed-for character interaction, the piece becomes a prelude without a kiss.

LaBute reveals a surprising (and refreshing) frisky side in The New Testament, in which a Caucasian playwright, a Hispanic producer and an Asian actor cast as Jesus clash over the author's insistence that a white guy play the Son of God. The play's length outlasts the idea's freshness, but director Dolores Rice ensures that beneath the laughs the dangerously venomous side of the writer (a ferocious Jeff Binder) isn't softened by the idiocy of his remarks.

There's very little that's fresh about Alexander Dinelaris's In This, Our Time..., a sprawling account of a neglectful mother, her boyfriend and her teenage daughter, staged with a leaden hand by J.J. Kandel, but Ruby Rae Spiegel brings a keen eye for the dynamics between 13-year-olds to Carrie & Francine. The humorous, disturbing story of two girls (compellingly nonchalant Lydia Weintraub and Louise Sullivan) namechecks influences from Catcher in the Rye to Gossip Girl as it traces that treacherous place between childhood and adulthood. Only 17 herself, the Yale-bound author's full-length work will be something to watch for.

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59E59. By various playwrights and directors. With ensemble casts. 2hrs 15mins. One intermission. See complete event information.