With the baseball World Series on the horizon, it’s time for the Bloomington Playwrights Project’s own seventh annual version of the Play Offs. Nine teams of a director, a writer and two or three actors were given twenty-four hours to create a short play. There are some restrictions. This year’s theme was “Lost in Translation. The hard pressed playwrights also had to incorporate the line “Failure is not an option” and a base ball bat into the script.
As always there was quite at variety of styles and approaches. For some reason tap dancing appeared as a key feature in two of the playlets. In Ken Weitzman’s “Lost. In Translation,” Tommy Wilson appeared as a dapper tap dancing character out of film noir. In Nick Moore’s “The Banjo Dance of Romance” both Jessica Lucas and Kelsey Sheppard did the taps while Joe Bolinger discovered unplumbed abilities with the banjo.
Literature instead of dance or music was the key to Josie Gingrich’s “Common Ground.” Three warring sisters: Allie Govei, Kaylee Spivey and Alissa Wyle suddenly found themselves almost magically united when they discovered that they were each ravished reading a volume of the romance Twilight with its hero, the magnetic Edgar. In Tracy Bee’s “Man Up,” it was literature of a distinctly different sort as her main character struggled with the plans for a how to project.
The evening’s strangest entry was Greg Ellis’s “Aria of the Beasts” as a very puzzled young studio singer is asked to imitate the sounds of animal torture. A close second was Andy Alphonse’s “Future: Absurd yet Benign” as scientists from the future cope with a world view shaken by the bat as an impossibly out of time artifact somehow related to a black hole in the head of one of our most recent Vice Presidents.
Therapy was a persistent theme in this year’s Play Off pieces. There was the touching “Forgive Paris” by Rachael Himsel and Joni McGary’s comic “The Love Translator.” Then in the evening’s most creative appearance by the baseball bat, there was a therapist, a mime, a third patient and the good old Louisville Slugger at the center of a love triangle in “L ‘Amour de Batte “ by Angeline Larimer.
The final performances of this year’s Play Offs at the Bloomington Playwrights Project are this Friday and Saturday the 30th and 31st. Audience members get to vote for their favorites after each performance and the winners will be announced on the final night.
At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker
Play Offs 09
Bloomington Playwrights Project
October 24, 25, 30 and 31, 2009