“LADIES IN WAITING: DAMSELS IN DISTRESS” FROM NO NUDE MEN SHOWCASES CHALLENGING NEW WORK BY EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS

(Charles Kruger)

This reviewer is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFABATCC)

“Ladies In Waiting: Three Plays About Distressed Damsels” produced by No Nude Men at Exit Theatre.

“Woman Come Down” by Claire Rice. Director: Stuart Bousel. Red: Kristen Broadbear. Rapunzal: Theresa Miller. Wolf: Maro Guevara. Mother: Karen Offereins. Henry: Leer Relleum.

“Night In Jail” by Alison Luterman. Director: Sarah Judge. Choreography: Sarah Savage. Samantha London: Tonya Narvaez. Henry Dubois: Charles Lewis III. Marie Antoinette: Kristen Broadbear.

“Oily Replies” by Hilde Susan Jaegtnes. Director: Claire Rice. Narrator: Nick Dickson. Sergeant Manson: Leer Relleum. Virgin 1: Karen Offereins. Virgin 2: Theresa Miller. Virgin 3: Tonya Narvaez. Skint: John Lennon Harrison. Oil Worker 1: Maro Guevra. Oil Worker 2: Aaron Tworek. Important Man: Charles Lewis III.

It is always a pleasure to see theatre companies encouraging the creation of new work. Without opportunities to showcase, immature playwrights cannot mature, leaving our theatre the poorer for it.

"Ladies In Waiting"—three new plays presented by No Nude Men at The Exit Theatre. Photo credit: No Nude Men

After struggling with a traffic jam on the Bay bridge, I arrived late for a recent performance, missing the first of the three original plays due to a strict no late seating policy (be warned).  Thus, this review will only address the second and third plays performed.

Alison Luterman‘s “Night In Jail” is an entertaining exploration of a young celebrity who “hits bottom” with her alcohol addiction and perhaps begins a recovery with the help of the ghost of Marie Antoinette and a sympathetic, clean and sober prison guard. This is a very entertaining piece with some fine craftsmanship and lovely comic performances, especially Kirsten Broadbear’s Marie Antoinette who sports the oddest French accent imaginable. Luterman’s  script touches very cleverly on the ways that celebrity can undermine character. She is less successful in dealing with alcoholism and recovery, falling  a bit into cliche.

Hilde Susan Jaegtnes “Oily Replies” is difficult to write about. The playwright is very ambitious in this piece set on an oil rig that is haunted by three mysterious virgin ladies. It is difficult to follow the plot, often repetitive, and too long by half. Nevertheless, in her experiments with repetition, metaphor, poetic language and imagery, Ms. Jaegtnes commands our respect. Few writers take such risks with their material.

Although “Ladies In Waiting” is not a polished evening of entertainment, and is likely to try one’s patience, it is certainly of interest to anybody that values experimental work and the excitement of seeing the early efforts of talented playwrights developing their craft. The direction, acting and production values are professional in every respect.

“Ladies In Waiting” continues through this weekend, December 17. For further information, click here.

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