Flux Sunday, June 7th

What is Flux Sunday?

While not quite the groove fest of last week, our last Flux Sunday before our short summer break was solid. We heard scenes from Johnna Adams, Jeremy Basescu, Mary Fengar Gail, myself and first time (as playwrights) Zack Calhoon and Anthony Wills Jr. Some Sundays, each play speaks to the other, but this Sunday, they carved out their own unique territory.

Zack’s new play Paint was up first. In it’s first scene, Paint takes time to let the complicated relationship between a recently divorced middle-aged couple (Ray and Sarah) unfold. The pacing of this scene is lovely: fights break out, only to be dodged through another glass of wine, a deft change of subject, or a simple touch, still erotically charged in spite of time and spite. Because of the length, Ray was split between David Crommett and Ken Glickfeld, and Sarah, between Nora Hummell and first-timer Lynn Kenny. Lynn and David especially found the uneasy but unavoidable attraction between these two difficult people.

Later in the day, we returned to Paint to read the next scene, where David (Sarah’s son, and a major source of trouble between her and Ray), is trying to convince his older girlfriend Christina to treat him seriously. Isaiah Tanenbaum and Ingrid Nordtstrom found the darker currents under the happy banter, and we ended excited to hear more from this play.

…in this Sunday’s read of Jeremy’s Onion Amnesia, the subject of comedy was the internal warfare of the office. Fen, sweetly and posionously played by Hannah Rose Peck (she was back visiting, yay!) squares off against the sour (and equally poisonous) Annalee (played by Marnie Schulenburg). This scene showed off Jeremy’s talent for sustaining the furious rhythm of farce.

You’ve heard that one before. But you’ve definitely not heard anything like Mary’s trippy murder mystery Opaline, where intrepid forsenic anthropologist Hargraves may be up against a power that exceeds his own sure-handed intelligence. Watching Matt Archambaults’s disheveled delight of a Hargraves match wills against first-timer Ryan Andes’ seductive force of nature abysnthian painter Gaston was thrilling, and Nancy Franklin’s mysterious Opaline and Johnna Adam’s hilariously precise Celestia made this my favorite read of the day (and perhaps my favorite of Mary’s contributuons to our Sundays). Can’t wait for the next scene!

Then we turned to Anthony’s absurd spin of Pirandello, Eddie Falls. The dizzyingly fast word play was disorienting, but the actors’ surprisingly naturalistic take on the material gave it some sea legs; and I was especially drawn to Ryan Whalen’s guru like Peter. This is a play that will be well-suited by our return to playing on our feet in July.

We also looked at the fourth act of Johnna’s rhyming Alexandrian verse play, Lickspittles, Buttonholers, and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens. The sheer verbal energy of this play is intoxicating, but what was really exciting about today’s scene was the darker, human turn her play took when rival go-between’s Guthbert (Anthony) and Candine (an excellently fierce Cotton Wright) explain their tragic histories. An additional treat was seeing Marnie and Brian Pracht reunite after Pretty Theft to play the sniveling Lickspittles, Christienne and Peder.

Wildly different plays, and no theme to unite them; all the same, the Sunday was satisfying. Much work awaits us when we return in July!

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