The coming-of-age edition of Buffalo Quickies is a well-balanced collection of quick takes on the human experience. Firmly anchored to the cantus firmus of sex, the ten plays demonstrate the skill sets of playwrights, actors and crew, causing many laughs, a tear or two and more food for thought than the copulating buffalo poster has predicated—all the more reason to see for yourself!
Marni Ayers pays homage to O. Henry—the short story master who delighted in marvellous twists and turns that genuinely surprise. Her “be careful what you ask for” dialogue between He (Carlton Franklin) and She (Sheila Connors) whets the appetite for more.
The notion of parent as resident psychiatrist takes on extra meaning. Christopher S. Parada delights as little boy Billy while Louise Reger—his advisor/tormentor, Dr. Lasker—lacks the spontaneous flow to keep the inquisition moving gaily forward. Bugge’s inventive premise is mostly fun but somewhat burdened with cliché (er, hello there Judy Garland as the “Friend of Dorothy” icon) to land a knockout punch.
Marinated Steaks and Socks
Jay C. Rehak
Parada excels in the Kafkaesque selective-hearing hilarity that plays on sex versus socks—both of which can be found in various forms in either meaning of drawer. Reger quickly finds her groove—aided and abetted by Connors’ doting/dotty portrayal of the unrepentant wife. Jay C. Rehak’s high-octane script fires on all cylinders and survives a discreet adjustment to the ending.
Saturday Night Chippewa, Sunday Morning Lackawanna
Alex Broun’s morning-after fantasy tale is an inspired bit of rewriting-history-to suit-my-pathetic-situation scene. Michael Seitz as the somewhat self-serving creative host/fornicator employs such a quiet delivery that his inner passion/angst is unable to fully surface. Similarly, Tammy Reger can’t find the rhythm of their dialogue soon enough to vanquish her hangover and live to love another day.
Turn the Other Cheek
Broun’s second offering brings a delightful “Odd Couple” face to face with their respective failures as Casanovas. Albert (Franklin) unfailingly rhymes off thirty-eight single-date, peck-on-the-cheek-as-thanks prospects while inadvertently revealing his pent-up disdain towards these unwilling-to-put-out conquests. The deliciously named Samson (Parada) is played with just the right tone of feminine macho to set up the payoff in fine style.
Unclear to Land
Jay C. Rehak
Rehak’s encore is funnier on the page than out loud. Air Traffic Control Guys (Seitz and Franklin) do their best but don’t manage the ever-so-elusive three-point landing.
Colin Mitchell’s wrong-number/right-connection piece covers a multitude of issues (abortion, death penalty, parental neglect) brilliantly. The dramatic highlight of the set gives Franklin the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his mastery of nuance in both visage and tone. Reger is the ideal foil in this outstanding effort.
Molly Best Tinsley
The only bedroom farce on the playbill starts as a confusing situational comedy where two houseguests respectively lay their never-seen hosts only to surprise each other in the kitchen the morning after. Connors convincingly morphs from accuser to seductress while Seitz happily falls into her “trap” with a beautifully lecherous acquiescence that raised the crowd’s temperature considerably.
How to Be Naked in Northern California
In Linda Eisenstein’s probe into the comings and goings of “clothing optional” joint vacations, the notion that good girls finish first is an engaging breath of fresh air. Reger provides a nearly word-perfect performance and her self-accompanied striptease is just raunchy enough to deliver her last glittering point with conviction. Parada has no trouble ogling air dolls as they catch his insatiable attention, preferring hot tub “floats” over domestic bliss.
George J. Bryjak
Airing dirty laundry in public informs George J. Bryjak’s far-reaching peek, poke and prod into the perils of total disillusionment and extreme Attention Don’t-get-enough Disorder. Reger anchors the distraught philosopher (Seitz) and the hilariously-declaiming poet (Connors’ brief recital is worth the price of admission alone—who knew how funny an “anorexic frog” could be?) with caustic wit and wry observations of the highest order.
Director Joyce Stilson has done an excellent job cobbling this entertaining collection together. The actors nearly seamlessly (the clothesline being completely uncooperative) reset the stage then switch gears into their next characters. Perhaps a complete blackout before staring afresh would allow the audience a few precious seconds to digest what has just transpired and prepare for the next course. It’s a feast well worth sampling and supporting in the years to come. JWR