Source Festival: ‘Afterward: Six 10-Minutes Plays’ by Anne Tsang

FOUR STARS
Its that time of year again! Summer in DC means theater festival time! First up, is CulturalDC’s three-week long Source Festival, now celebrating its sixth year.

Afterward, the series of 10-minute plays inspired by the full length play, A Frontier, As Told By The Frontier, has each of the central characters trying to understand their current lives by examining the past. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions that had me almost crying one minute and laughing out loud the next.

'Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother's Love Life' with Christian Sullivan, Carol Lampman McCaffrey, and Meredith Richard. Photo by Scott Suchman.

‘Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Life’ with Christian Sullivan, Carol Lampman McCaffrey, and Meredith Richard. Photo by Scott Suchman.

In Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Life, written by Stephanie Alison Walker and directed by Megan Behm, Lily (Meredith Richards) is upset with her mom Ramona (Carol McCaffrey). Ramona has an unrealistically obsession for a love that transcends time, space, and death—like Edward feels for Bella (from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Myers) but Lily is equally obsessed with avoiding anything that has to do with taking driving lessons or the test for her drivers license. It seems unlikely that these two obsessions stem from the same source, but as the story reaches its climax, the audience gets a glimpse into the tragedy that started Lily and Romona’s obsessions.

The Man in the Powder Blue Suit, written by Stephen Spotswood was my least favorite of the six shorts plays. Naomi (Alina Collins-Maldonado) recalls a childhood family vacation that seemingly results in the divorce of her parents and the breakup of her happy family memories and her encounter with the man in the powder blue suit (John Tweel). Director Renana Fox does a good job of building up suspense, the viewer begins to anticipate some big climatic event, and then…disappointingly, nothing really happens. Although the story fell a little short, Collins-Maldonado and Tweel are excellent in their roles. Collins-Maldonado convincingly and seamlessly switches between her adult self and her childhood self and sharing the duties of the storytelling with Tweel in a perfectly timed pace.

Emma (Kathryn Ryan) telling the story of one of the many lives lost. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Emma (Kathryn Ryan) telling the story of one of the many lives lost. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

50 guns, written by Alex Broun, was the most memorable and thought invoking piece of the night. Emma (Kathryn Ryan) shares the stories and tales of 50 people, 50 lives lost to gun violence. Ryan’s haunting recital of each of the stories—their names, their stories, the guns used to take their lives—had me captivated and her increasingly anxious and anguished stories brought tears to my eyes.

Minus You, written by Jennifer Barclay, is the story of love lost and how sometimes we get so lost in the details, we don’t see the big picture. Lennox (Christian Sullivan) and his wife Gracie (Meredith Richard) are both dead, but he can’t seem to find her in the afterlife as she is constantly running away from him, trying to escape his control. Lennox tries harder and harder to reach her, but Gracie can’t see or understand, his love for her and thinks he is being selfish when in reality she has totally misunderstood him.

Lost in Thought, written by Christopher Lockheardt, finds a man (Bru Ajueyitsi) deep in thought about his past, present, and future with an old girlfriend (Kathryn Ryan). The man recalls conversations and encounters with his former flame and unlike in real life, he gives himself the chance to change the outcome of conversations if he didn’t like them.These reflections give him a chance to reconsider where their relationship would be if he had acted differently in the original encounters.

The Unholy Rollers: MoraLei Bankrupt (Jessie Jordan), Feminem (Ruthie Rado), and Hermione Maimher (Genevieve James). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

The Unholy Rollers: MoraLei Bankrupt (Jessie Jordan), Feminem (Ruthie Rado), and Hermione Maimher (Genevieve James). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

The last of the set of plays, Riot Grrrl Reunion, was the funniest of the batch and kept me laughing almost the whole 10 minutes. The Unholy Rollers (Jessie Jordan, Genevieve James, and Ruthie Rado), a roller derby team, arrives at the gym for the First Annual Riot Girl Rally and discover that due to an error of their own, the gym was being used for the boys basketball game. They decide to cause trouble and perhaps scare the nine year old players, and spectators away, but they meet an unlikely opponent in quiet, school librarian, Mrs. Newsome. Not only was I amused by the 80’s roller girl costumes and silly antics of the Unholy Rollers, but the slow-motion fight scene choreography by Ashley Byrd-San had me in stitches. Riot Grrrl Reunion reminds us not to judge a book by its cover and that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t hide our true selves!

The Afterward 10-minute plays are thought-provoking and funny and if you are looking for a fun night, go check it out!

Running Time: 90 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.

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Afterward 10-minute play at Source Festival on June 18th, 22nd, and 29th at Source Theatre – 1835 14th Street, NW, in Washington DC. For tickets, order them online

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