The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest presents the kinds of shows one will not see anywhere else in the local theatre scene. Nowhere on TCTN’s yearly slate of shows will one find “My Fair Lady,” or “Oliver.” That’s a good thing because (with all due respect to Ms. Doolittle and young Master Twist) new is good, and different is refreshing! Pavlina Morris, who heads up The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest, calls her operation “fringe theater,” and so it is.
With Summerplay 2018, Ms. Morris’ company presents ten short plays, every one of them world premieres at Dukesbay Theater where The Changing Scene has been in residence for a while. Over the course of about 90 minutes, theatergoers minds are stretched and expanded. There are some “haha” moments and some “hmm” moments. Does every short play work? In all likelihood, they all have their fans, but none will connect with everyone. “Fringe theater” doesn’t intend to be all things to all people, but it is more than worthwhile for all people to experience it. And so it is with “Summerplay 2018.”
“A Winning Plot,” written by Laurie Spector finds two people alone near a cemetery plot. After some verbal sparring, they discover that they may be competing for the same prize, unless they aren’t. This was the favorite short play of at least one person in attendance. Mary Sheehan and Joseph Magin were both effective, with Ms. Sheehan being the better of the two. Mr. Magin’s star would shine brighter later in the evening.
“The Ghost of Valentino,” written by Jane and Jim Jeffries invoked magic headwear. Julie Cole, Karen Noyes, and Eric Cuestas-Thompson performed. This one had the most “lol” moments of the ten, and Mr. Cuestas-Thompson had his finest moments here.
“The Geese,” written by Makrenna Rose Sterdan, visits the wedding day of a man who finds himself afield with his brother-in-law to be. On the night Drama in the Hood was present Zachary Forbes played opposite Joseph Magin in this one. They were both good, but this was Joseph Magin’s best performance. Zach Forbes had his best turn later in the evening.
“On Her Wavelength,” written by John Levine, was the saddest of the dramatic entries, as it dealt with a widower who is coping the best he can. Curtis Beech and Kayla Littleton were equally strong in this play, which was the best of the night in the opinion of at least one observer.
“The Hornet Dance,” written by Rhea MacCallum was nuts. Let’s just leave it at that. Not to say that it wasn’t performed well by Magin, Noyes, and Michelle Noel, making her first appearance of the evening. But, it was nuts.
“The Appraisal,” written by Scott Mullen, was good for its gradual revelation of a deeper plot.
“Forward is Always Backward,” written by Susan Goodell was a constant play on words. Kathryn Stahl, Kayla Littleton, and Joseph Magin displayed excellent teamwork and timing. This was Kathryn Stahl’s best outing of the night.
“Hue and Saturation,” written by Sheila Crowley had some 60’s psychedelic to it without any actual colors being shown. It was an example of the word being more evocative than eyesight. It was Zachary Forbes’ best moment in the evening.
“Tutelage of Tulle,” written by Stacey Lane, came and went in a heartbeat, and without leaving a strong emotion.
Summerplay 2018 is an evening smorgasbord in which everyone will find something about which to say, “That was really good!” Some of the plays will come off as more curious than excellent. That’s okay, in fact, that’s fringe!
“Summerplay 2018,” by various authors. The Changing Scene Theater Northwest, performing at Dukesbay Theater, 508 S 6th Ave, Tacoma. Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun. Sept. 16 at 6 pm through Sept. 22. Tickets: summerplay2018.brownpapertickets.com/ Info: changingscenenorthwest.org, or 360-710-5440.