This annual festival of new American short plays returns to 59E59 for its 12th consecutive year. More…
The festival's two series consist of three plays each.
by Chris Bohjalian
Directed by Alexander Dinelaris
A young flight attendant with a fear of flying is about to work her first transatlantic trip. When a veteran co-worker tries to help her through the turbulent crossing, she discovers that a fear of flying is the least of the young woman's secrets.
'The Living Room'
Written and directed by Robert O'Hara
A satire. About Frank and Judy. Who are White People in a Living Room. Doing what White People in Living Rooms do. But something is different. Today Frank and Judy have questions. About the entire nature of being White People in a Living Room.
By Abby Rosebrook
Directed by Jess Chayes
Kenny's Tavern is a dive bar and liberal oasis for a certain crowd of public-school teachers in the foothills of West Virginia. On the eve of the 2016 election, two colleagues hole up in the back of their regular haunt to hash out their relationship to each other and the community they love.
See the lineup for Series B here.
"Go for the fluid acting in some of the pieces. Go for the depth of writing that you’ll hear from good playwrights. Go to challenge your own morality. Playwrights, us out here are interested in what these 'Summer Shorts' have to say." Full Review
"'The Living Room' serves as a great warm-up act to whet our appetites for the next two pieces, both of which pack a punch...The power of 'Kenny’s Tavern' comes from an unspoken juxtaposition between the privileged philandering educators and the young girl...'Grounded' is my favorite, wonderfully compelling on both literal and metaphorical levels...Dinelaris does a wonderful job of keeping the play focused, amidst all of the non sequiturs and realistic interruptions." Full Review
"Manages to give a loving spotlight to three distinct and smart voices. 'Summer Shorts' binds together the intents and explorations of these playwrights into a succinct 90-minute showcase of what the new generation of writers is capable of. If one theme can be given, it would be this: the voices you don’t often hear, speaking to the issues you thought you knew all about." Full Review
"Each play touches lightly on some contemporary social issue that has been gently peeled, rather than ripped, from the headlines…'The Living Room's points seem blunted to the point of pointlessness and its self-declared existence as a 'satire' evokes barely any laughs…None of 'Kenny's Tavern' amounts to much, plot or theme-wise, and the action slumbers…'Grounded' isn't always smooth, but…succeeds in creating relatable, well-written characters, each of them given convincing performances." Full Review
"The linking theme in the three new one acts in 'Summer Shorts 2018 - Festival of New American Plays: Series A' is life in Trump's United States including predatory males, race relations, and the disenfranchised. While all three plays have intriguing premises only Chris Bohjalian's 'Grounded,' a first play by a novelist of long standing, is a fully-realized, dramatic experience. Having your heart in the right place or expressing righteous anger over a current wrong proves not to be enough." Full Review
"‘Kenny's Tavern’: It progresses sluggishly, and the characters aren't drawn sharply enough...Bohjalian's ‘Grounded’: The action is notably lacking in tension...'The Living Room' is billed as a satire, but it is singularly without laughs...This is the weaker of the two Summer Shorts offerings, lacking in humor and heavy with accusation. The crimes of the #MeToo era should at least yield some interesting dramas to come, but here the handling is dreary and a little bit forced." Full Review
See it if Everyone should see the final short - it is powerful and beautifully executed on every front.
Don't see it if The other two shorts have some good ideas and moments, but execution is a little wonky in a variety of areas.
See it if an initiate setting. 3 short 1-acts. Inexpensive experience or seeing a screen actor on stage. "Grounded" was by far the best of the three.
Don't see it if I was hoping to like "The Living Room", but, it was WAY confusing and "Kenny's Tavern" was just "okay". If "Grounded" weren't present, the
See it if you don't mind sitting through a weak aperitif and a bland appetizer to get to your main course.
Don't see it if you'd rather invest your time in a cohesive theatrical outing.
See it if you like: a. meta short plays b. feminist/politically themed shorts c. two-handers
Don't see it if You saw summer shorts B and are expecting the A section to live up to it or best it. Series B is definitely a stronger selection overall.
See it if you enjoy new work penned by some very talented playwrights (including Obie Award winner O'Hara), that is overall well acted and directed.
Don't see it if you do not enjoy a more experimental feel to your plays. While not the best writing, it makes for a thoughtful evening at the theatre.
See it if you like short plays.Set is terrific. Living Room is good but a bit dull.Kenny's Tavern wasn't much.BUT Grounded made up for the 1st two.
Don't see it if you want cohesive one act plays.It's a hard thing to write, & Chris Bohjalian nails it.They are all worth seeing, just not great theatre.
See it if Three different one act plays with interesting plots. Chris Bohjalian's play had the most impact. Great performances by all actors.
Don't see it if You are not a fan of short plays.
See it if Seeing a one-act play provides opportunity to imagine how playwright thinks. The Living Room is a glimpse into O'Hara's anger, very meta,
Don't see it if rather funny.Grounded is relevant & well acted but stagy with stock characters. Kenny's Tavern has interesting coda to otherwise banal plot.
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