College theaters have always been forerunners in experimental theater, and Arts Collective at Howard Community College’s zany production of Avery Crozier’s Eat the Runt is no exception. The play is a satire that pokes fun at the art world as well as the job interview process. It’s wild and funny show performed by a hard-working and talented cast.
Before the play starts the audience gets to vote on which actors will be playing which parts.
The play runs off the traditional tracks of form and realism very quickly. It should be noted that all the characters have androgynous names. We have to decide who is who, what is their real part in these events, and what are their real motives. Since the actors change from performance to performance, this is a review of only the Sunday, April 19, 2015 performance.
The play opens with the Merritt (Terri Laurino), an interviewee, coming to interview at the museum for a position as a grant writer. Merritt is to be interviewed by a series of personnel at the museum. She is met by Chris (Brandon W. Love), who works at the museum and who also would like the position. He tells her she will next speak to Jean, the Human Resources Coordinator (Diego Esmolo). She next meets with Royce (Gabrielle Amaro), the sizzling hot Director of Development, and then it’s off to meet Hollis, the Modern Arts Curator (Anthony Scimonelli). She is then ushered over to meet Sidney, a Trustee and Orthodox Jew, played by Noah Bird (Mr. Bird also was the Assistant Director). At last she meets the Museum Director, Pinky – a transsexual – played by Daniel Johnston. At the end of Act One the plot is even further complicated with the introduction of Merritt’s live-in boyfriend, Cory, played by Scott Lichtor.
This is an experienced ensemble, which includes some Arts Collective ‘veterans’ who have performed in past productions. Some are students and some are seasoned performers, and they all work wonderfully together and keep this wacky production from going too far over the edge.
It’s so admirable that since they don’t always play the characters I saw them play yesterday, this brave and courageous and well-prepared group of actors all seemed very comfortable and ‘fearless.’ They had no problem keeping up with the frantic pace and their comic timing was impressive. As things got crazier-they kept things moving along even it was hard to figure out exactly what was happening. But that was part of the fun!
Kudos to Director Susan G. Kramer for making sense of it all and for inspiring and preparing her cast to handle so many different and wacky situations. Some of my favorites were the lustful interview of Merritt by Royce in Act I and a hilarious scene between Merritt and the ultra-religious Sidney in Act II.
Jeff Harrison’s set design is a bare minimum of furniture modules that are configured to meet the needs of the scene. Lighting by Lynn Joslin and Digital Scenography by Riki K. nicely complement the sparse by imaginative set as do the costumes designed by Shannon Maddox and the props by Vicki Sussman.
[I would love to know if the costumes are completely changed as the actors change roles from performance to performance, or if they are just modified to fit the actors].
The Studio Theatre is the perfect venue to perform Eat the Runt because if its intimate size. The audience feels like they are actually sitting in on the interview. And there’s no escape from these kooky characters.
If you ever had a horrible interview, an insane supervisor, or wanted a job so badly only to see somehow else get it – then you will love Arts Collective @ HCC’s Eat the Runt. It’s deliciously outrageous!
Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, with an intermission.
Arrive 30 minutes early and you will be able to vote. More information is here.
Eat the Runt plays through May 3, 2015, at Arts Collective @HCC performing at Howard Community College’s Horowitz Center Studio Theatre – 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, in Columbia, MD. For tickets, call the Box Office at (443) 518-1500, or purchase them online.
This production includes mature situations, language, and images, and is recommended for folks 14 and up.)
Arts Collective @ Howard Community College Presents ‘Eat the Runt’ April 17-May 3, 2015 in HCC’s Studio Theatre.