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Tuesday, 02 April 2013 15:08

The other woman

Written by Bob Wilcox
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The Details

Tesseract Theatre appears to have been around for about a year now, but they've been flying under the radar for most of us. I gather they did something at the Fringe last summer, but I haven't seen any announcements from them or about them on either of the web theatre lists. But Chuck Lavazzi, combing the Regional Arts Commission's ArtsZipper in his quest to get every last theatre performance covered on KDHX, saw a notice of a production last month by them at RAC. So I took a look.

They must have a limited budget. The production was bare bones. But all you need for theatre is two boards and a passion, right? And they're doing interesting things, mostly with new plays. But not exclusively new plays, because later this month they'll be doing Sam Shepard's marvelous "Fool for Love".

But for their current season, they have commissioned ten minute plays “by emerging playwrights in St. Louis and around the country,” as their program says. One of these is presented as a curtain raiser for each production. The one I saw was “We're Doing This All Wrong: Expectations of Heterosexual Life from the Vantge Point of Twenty-Somethings,” by Meredith Dayna Levy. It presented a couple's life together from youth through age. But all the standard gender expectations were reversed. And that was about it, conventional cleverness about gender roles, competently crafted. The program listed Daniel Ludwig as the director but gave the name of only one of the two actors, Kayleigh Clark.

The main event was "To the New Girl from the Former Mrs. _________: Sound Advice for My Husband's Wife or Mistress", by Samantha Macher. Ten women express their feelings about a husband who has strayed to the woman with whom he has strayed. Again, you could pretty much guess where this was going. With ten of them, the variety has interest, everything from youth to age and poor to rich. Macher crafts her writing well, but in a brief vignette, she's more often clever than profound. Rarely does she take us anywhere unexpected that we haven't been before.

The acting of the ten women in the case, under the direction of Brittanie Boado, varied considerably. A few appeared a little uneasy and uncertain and even had trouble making themselves heard in the room at the Regional Arts Commission. Others brought a character to convincing and even moving life.

I hope Tesseract Theatre will make itself more visible in the future. Anyone encouraging new playwrights and doing "Fool for Love" deserves attention.

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