Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Saturday, 15 October 2011 08:49

Spectrum 2011

Written by Dennis Corcoran
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

  • Director: Bill Stine and Phillip Allen Coan
  • Dates: October 14 - 23, 2011

First Run Theatre's Spectrum 2011 short play festival is as close to a guaranteed good evening of theatre as it gets.  Eight plays by seven playwrights… different themes, styles, and takes on life … and all short.  So, if you don’t like one, it will be over soon and, in a full evening’s menu of theatre, something is bound to please.  Simply stated, there is something for everyone.

So it was last night at Soundstage Theatre in the Crestwood Art Space.  What a hodgepodge of "stuff" - and the funny thing was, as soon as the second half ended, small groups of people formed excitedly asking each other the same question:  which ones did you like?

I didn’t feel comfortable answering because, well, I was a reviewer, which no one knew, really, but I’m supposed to be cool, theatrically wisened and aloof – yeah, right.  And the questioners were as likely as not some of the actors, or playwrights, or their family and/or friends – talk about being on the spot.

But now, ah, yes, in the quiet remove of my study, early the next morning – now I can answer.  So, here are my favorites, in ascending order, and why.

Women on my mind, written by Jim Greer, directed by Bill Stine.  It’s a cute story.  Not much to it.  Nicely staged.  But it highlighted three very attractive, shapely young ladies in revealing garb.  Ok, I’m a guy.  I’m sorry.  I liked it. 

The Body Exchange by Mario Farwell, directed by Phillip Allen Coan.  I didn’t like this one at first but as the old man, Hiram, played by Brad Slavik, came to be interested in the feelings of his robotic body replacement, it changed.  It became a story of redemption and Slavik did a very nice job, in a very compressed timeframe, of slowly revealing something deeper. 

Naughty Boy Naughty Girl, again by Farwell (hence eight plays by 7 playwrights), again directed by Coan.  This is a cute, interesting tale, which, at first, left me hanging a bit but, perhaps in Farwell’s signature style, evolved into something richer and deeper as the short play moved along.  Farwell has a gift for taking a simple set up and peeling away layers to reveal humanity and emotion.  The acting by Bryan Maynard as Judah Rosenbloom and Hillary Gokenbach as Dorothea Ressling was shyly and hesitantly right on target.

THE BUFFALO, written by Steven Clark, directed by Stine, was, for me, the most important play of the evening, yet one of the most confused and least well-acted.  The story was hard to follow and the acting was flat and unconvincing but it was clear from the outset this one had a message – and that message was powerfully delivered in a monologue by Shahnaz Ahmed, pacing the room, making eye contact with us, individuals, in the audience.  The staging of the final scene, sight and sound, too helped drive the point home.  I am glad I saw this play.  It says something that, for me, needs to be said and heard.

And my favorite on the evening … drum roll please ….

FAMILY ALBUM by Cody Tucker, directed by Coan.  The story was compelling and dramatic.  The acting was the best on the night with Lee J. Cox playing God(frey) Samms and Tasha Zebrowski  playing his daughter Birch Samms.  Both actors were convincing, and powerful.  From the instant of lights up, they were fully invested in their characters and carried them through to the surprise conclusion.

In fact, I have to make special mention of Zebrowski.  Several of the actors were in multiple plays, Zebrowski, herself, was in four.  She was outstanding throughout. 

All the cast and crew did yeoman’s work with actors like Bryan Maynard in four plays, Hillary Gokenbach in three, several of the others in two.  Scene and set changes, seven in all, were handled quickly, smoothly and efficiently – and even the order of the plays appeared to be well thought through.

Let me now return to something I said at the outset.  As soon as the evening ended, small groups gathered:  which was your favorite?  What did you think of this actor or actress? 

And for every reviewer – afterall, aren’t all audience members reviewers of a sort? – there is bound to be a different favorites list.

Afterall, isn’t that the real beauty of a short play fest?  There truly is something for everyone. 

Additional Info

  • Director: Bill Stine and Phillip Allen Coan
  • Dates: October 14 - 23, 2011

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends


New Music Circle presents Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman Duo

Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and NYC violinist Mark Feldman have been collaborators for more than fifteen years.Their music involves an integration of modern classical, avant-garde jazz, and European improvised styles. Sylvie...


Folk and Roots Sessions: The Honeycutters

The Folk & Roots Sessions, a 10-concert series spanning August, 2015 to May, 2016, will bring you new folk, bluegrass, old-time, Americana or country. Each month the Folk & Roots Sessions will feature one concert we think you...


Cory Branan

Throughout his career, Cory Branan has been too punk for country, too country for punk, too Memphis for Nashville, and probably a little too Cory Branan for anyone's damn good.   Ticket information

Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at


Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook