Source Festival: ‘Revenge: Six 10-Minute Plays’

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FOUR STARS
Someone once said “revenge is sweet.” In the case of CulturalDC’s Source Festival show Revenge, not only is revenge sweet, but it is hilarious, thought-provoking, and at times a little frightening. Revenge, a series of six 10-minute plays is based on the full length play, The Thrush and the Woodpecker, and is also one of the main themes of the festival.

Daniel Corey (left) and Sara Barker (right) in 'A Picnic on the Lake.' Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
Daniel Corey (left) and Sara Barker (right) in ‘Picnic on the Lake.’ Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

In Picnic on the Lake, written by CJ Ehrlich and directed by Jennifer Mendenhall, all seems to be normal as Glynnis (Sara Barker) and Eric (Daniel Corey) hikes to have a romantic picnic by the lake. But their idyllic rendezvous is shattered by Glynnis’ need for escape and attention and Eric’s need for revenge. Barker and Corey do a good job of portraying two utterly unredeemable characters and seeing that crazed look in Corey’s eyes sent a shiver down my spine!

In What Remains of Youth, Sydney (Tori Boutin) suspects her boyfriend Jacob (Seth Rosenke) of possible planning a violent act at their college campus. Sydney tries to give Jacob a chance to convince her that she is imaging things, but he dodges her questions. With all of the recent incidents in the news, What Remains of Youth, written by Erik Gernand and directed by Jarrod Jabre, hits a little close to home. It makes us wonder, what if those people who suspected something was about to happen were actually able to tell someone, would it have made a difference? The word play between Sydney and Jacob is sharp and fast-paced and Boutin and Rosenke deliver them without a hitch.

In We are not Animals, the daughter (Ariana Almajan), sister (Dannielle Hutchinson), and wife (Devora Zack) of a man who was accidentally killed by a drone attack kidnaps Anderson (Daniel Corey). Anderson, an operator of American military drones, launched a drone attack in an attempt at apprehending a terrorist named Zodiac (Shravan Amin), but instead killed the three women’s loved one. I thought the premise of the story had a lot of promise, but the short 10-minute format of the show did not give it enough time to play out properly. Despite this shortfall, the talented cast weaves a story of sadness and loss, of suspense, and of humanity and redemption.

In Collect Everything, written by Vincent Delaney and directed by Jarrod Jabre, Amira (Briana Manente) is an NSA analysts who finds out more than she ever wanted to know when she begins to listen in on the lives of her husband (Seth Rosenke), friend Gabi (Tory Boutin), and mother-in-law (Kim Tuvin). How many times have you said to yourself, “I wish I knew what they were talking about” or “I wish I knew if he/she was lying to me” or “I wish I were a fly on the wall” You may want to rethink if really want to know they are talking about? The story also does a hilarious job of poking fun at the recent NSA news coverage that the NSA is listening to everyone’s phone calls and emails.

Collateral Damage and Other Cosmic Consequences, written by AK Forbes and directed by Adi Stein, was one of my 2 favorites of this series of short plays. Karma (Nadia Mohebban) is set on bombing the ruling class of aliens after one of them takes advantage of her, but Bill (Erik Harrison), ever the optimist, tries to change her mind in hopes of not only saving himself, but also saving Karma, and possibly protecting the relationship between the humans and the aliens. Mohebban’s tirade against men who have mistreated her, has the audience snickering. And Harrison’s innocent optimistic is the perfect contrast to Mohebban’s woman scorned.

The loving couple, Cathy (left, Sarah Ferris) and Freddy (right, Matthew Sparacino). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
The loving couple, Cathy (left, Sarah Ferris) and Freddy (right, Matthew Sparacino). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

The last of the shows, Freddy and Cathy, was my favorite of the set and pays homage to the 50’s sitcoms. Freddy and Cathy, written by Alyssa Wilden and directed by Adi Stein, is told through a bunch of 50s sitcom TV-like scenes. At the start, Cathy (Sara Ferris) is a housewife, who dotes on her adorably annoying husband Freddy (Matthew Sparacino).  Cathy spends the days cleaning and cooking, while Freddy is gone all day. Each day, when Freddy walks in the door, and announces “I’m home,” he expects Cathy to have dinner and dessert ready. As time goes on, Cathy becomes increasingly annoyed with and mad at Freddy for his insensitivity, his lack of help around the house, and the general condescending way he talks to her. Can Cathy change the status quo, can she escape the chains of the gender role, which binds her? Sparacino and Ferris’s timing is spot-on. Sparacino’s straight faced delivery of his lines makes you simultaneously adore him, but want to smack him over his condescending little head with a pie tin.

While the first three shows were more serious in nature and the last three showed the comedic side of revenge, the entire Revenge set of 10-minute plays is definitely worth a trip down to Source Theater!

Running Time: 90 minutes, with one 10-minute intermission.

Revenge is showing at Source Festival on June 20th and 28th at Source Theatre – 1835 14th Street, NW, in Washington DC. For tickets, order them online