Review: ‘10x10x10’: A Ten-Minute Play Festival at Fells Point Corner Theatre

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In its sixth year, Fells Point Corner Theatre’s 10x10x10, a collection of 10-minute plays by Baltimore-DC area playwrights, is a feast for theater lovers. The setup of this must-see show is ten minutes per play, for a total of ten plays, and a total of ten actors. With wildly divergent stories, talented directors and amazing talent, 10x10x10 is the number one annual highlight for new plays in this area.

Top Row (L-R): Tom Piccin, Dana Woodson, Dickey Wilson, Jon Meeker, Holly Gibbs, Parker, Dianne Hood and David Shoemaker. Bottom Row: Natalie Dent and Barbara Madison Hauck. Photo courtesy of Fells Point Corner Theatre.
Top Row (L-R): Tom Piccin, Dana Woodson, Dickey Wilson, Jon Meeker, Holly Gibbs, Parker, Dianne Hood and David Shoemaker.
Bottom Row: Natalie Dent and Barbara Madison Hauck. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

The plays featured top-notch players, including the commander-of-stage-presence himself David Shoemaker; Holly Gibbs, previously seen at FPCT in The Divine Sister; the always excellent Barbara Madison Hauck, who holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Maryland; Dianne Hood, who has appeared in The Year of Magical Thinking at The Strand; Dana Woodson, in her first role on stage (as opposed to backstage) for FPCT; real-life roller coaster salesman Jon Meeker; recent UMBC graduate Parker Damm; Towson University BFA candidate Natalie Dent; Tom Piccin, and Dickey Wilson.

The show started with a play entitled Open Mic: A Trilogy of Life, by MJ Perrin, performed by Woodson. Consisting of a trilogy of poems about the stages of life of a black lesbian, the play was directed by Christen Cromwell. Woodson powerfully brought Perrin’s words to life, earning rousing applause for the last poem.

Director Andrew Porter and Assistant Director Sarah Burton brought DC Cathro’s The Fine Art of Critiquing the Hang of the Shoe to life with actors Dent and Damm, who portrayed a couple who explored the nostalgic parts of their past. The play was rife with themes of growing up versus remaining a kid.

Alice Stanley’s Crito was a dystopian take on the death of Socrates. The central conflict was between the ominous Regime versus the Refuge. Hauck played the Socrates-like character, Sonia, and Woodson played the titular hero, Crito. Director Meghan Stanton’s direction was crisp.

Stanton also directed In Memory of Mrs. Mary Brown, by Rich Espey. The play centered around an older woman, Florence, who sought closure on her relationship with her friend Mary. Gibbs was fantastic as Mary and Hood excelled as Florence as their characters discussed life regrets and explored religious themes.

Tom Piccin (left) and Jon Meeker (Right) in "What's the Point?" written by Dan Collins and directed by Andrew Porter. Photo courtesy of Fells Point Corner Theatre.
Tom Piccin and Jon Meeker in “What’s the Point?” written by Dan Collins and directed by Andrew Porter. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

What’s the Point by Dan Collins was simply hilarious. The play was basically two men on a couch talking about quantum mechanics, politics, processed meats and “dairy-infused snacks.” Director Porter and Assistant Director Burton did a magnificent job keeping the energy up between Meeker, Piccin, and Wilson.

There was plenty more hilarity in While in Parallel Dimensions, Clothes Hangers Conspire, by Richard Pauli. Directed by Porter and assistant directed by Burton, this X-Files themed play focused on an attempt by clothes hangers to dominate the world. Sent to investigate the clothes hangers were black-business-suit-wearing Special Agents Data Mulley (Gibbs) and Fax Sculldar (Shoemaker). The agents inspected the home of Mrs. Ima True Earthling (Hauck) for mismatched socks and washer and dryer sets. Shoemaker was an excellent straight man to the more manic Gibbs.

The ominous Mr. Shells Gets Shipped East for Beef, by Rufus Drawlings, was a sobering take on two men in a cattle car, facing a grim fate. Piccin and Shoemaker were outstanding together. Stanton’s direction was spot on.

Shrimp at the Radisson by Jennifer Harrison, directed by Bobby Harris, starred Wilson as a woman of a certain age, Goldie, on a date with the much younger Adam (Damm, who excelled with his facial expressions). There was a cute dynamic as they tried to bridge their age difference. Hood had a good turn as a bellhop.

Natalie Dent in "Hello, baby. I miss you." Directed by Christen Cromwell and written by Tatiana Nya Ford. Photo courtesy of Fells Point Corner Theatre.
Natalie Dent in “Hello, baby. I miss you.” Directed by Christen Cromwell and written by Tatiana Nya Ford. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

Hello, baby. I miss you, featured the thoughts of a young woman expressing her thoughts about a loved one: “Do you miss me like I miss you?” Dent carried the whole of Tatiana Nya Ford’s script. Cromwell directed.

Mark Scharf’s The Last Ten featured the outrageously comical last minutes of the lives of a couple facing imminent destruction. Secrets and accusations flew between George and Peggy, played by Meeker and Gibbs. Harris’ direction kept the cues sharp.

Porter kept the sets simple in the black box space—most consisted of couches or a few chairs and tables. The audience voted for the top three plays via paper ballots, that will be tallied at the end of the run, May 6. I ranked What’s the Point? number one, While in Parallel Dimension, Clothes Hangers Conspire number two, and The Last Ten number three. Be sure to see this awesome combination of explosive talent and great writing, which is sure to be a perennial theater gem for years to come.

Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

10x10x10 plays through May 6, 2018, at Fells Point Corner Theatre – 251 S. Ann Street, in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 276-7837, or purchase them online.