MadLab's 'Russian Roulette' off with a bang
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
"Theatre Roulette" at MadLab Theatre, located at the corner of Grant and Long Streets, is a fun game too, but it doesn't involve risking life or limbs. The artistic risk is in defying the typical structure of theater. This May, with minimalist sets and a modest black box performance space, MadLab is exploring fresh new works with its ensemble of actors.
"Theatre Roulette" is a festival of new plays MadLab premiered on May 3. There are three shows running: "Foreshadows," "Flashbacks," and "Foolishness" - each composed of three to four short plays.
"Flashbacks" is comprised of: "The Cat in Her Head," by Bonnie Lake; "Child's Play," by Ry Herman and Kolby Granville; "Saver," by Mark Harvey Levine and "On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning," by Alex Dremann.
In "The Cat in Her Head," Lake explored the grief of a daughter who lost a mother to Alzheimer's Disease. Although it was primarily a tragic script, there were moments of lightness and comedy.
Nancy, played by Sarah Brunet, recounted her mother's life while trying to cope with the death. She did a wonderful job of tackling Lake's eclectic mix of straightforward language interspersed with poetic, lyrical moments. Chris Lane's direction evoked the feeling of hazy memory, as the family members, who sporadically wandered into the storytelling, seemed like specters of themselves.
The next piece, "Child's Play," explored how children cope with loss and how it manifests in the playtime environments they can control. Mr. Elfy, played by Vicki Andronis, and Maraca Guy, played by Stephen Woosley, are two toys manipulated by the child Lisa, played by Traci Weaver.
Andronis and Woosley created dynamic characters through their exploration of bold physical comedy. They embraced the situations Weaver presented them in compelling and funny ways.
The third play, "Saver," followed a couple's debate over sentimental value. The contention ensues when the couple discovers a suitcase of keepsakes kept by the husband's father for years. The wife sees the value in memory, but the husband doesn't understand how objects can have so much importance.
The show started off slow with "The Cat in Her Head," but finished strong with "On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning," which featured Andronis and Brunet in the roles of mother and daughter. Both are unknowingly working for the same government agent, and Brunet has been sent to kill her mother.
Brunet and Andronis have a great comedic chemistry that translates to a delightful theatrical experience. The script was fast paced and kept the audience on their toes trying to guess what twist in the plot lay ahead.
An adventurous theater troupe with a unique space, MadLab challenges audiences to restructure their opinions of theater.
For those who have short attention spans and can't dedicate themselves to a two-hour show, "Theatre Roulette" is theater for the attention deficit in all of us.
For information visit madlab.net.
Meg Greene can be reached at email@example.com.