Monday, May 19, 2008

EST Marathon 30: Series A

Focusing on the bad plays in a one-act festival is a waste of time: instead, I want to reward the writers who stuck their necks out a bit to take a risk, or produce something of value. In terms of risks, Michael John Garces's Tostitos is an unfocused ball of anger, but it's filled with a real energy and vitality that isn't often found on the stage. The smaller space at EST (as opposed to with The Shalimar) has helped to develop the feeling of ennui that drives this show, but I have yet to see Andres Munar allow himself to actually feel what's going on around him. Dude, you've worked a lot since Acts of Mercy, and you obviously have talent: grow up a little. As for value, David Auburn hasn't done much since Proof, but his new one-act, An Upset, is both clever and well-acted. In my mind, it's what Deuce should have been: an exciting verbally played tennis match between waxing and waning stars, and how that feels. The structure is a little forced--that is, it's clear where the play has to be going--but the dialogue remains surprising enough to really tell us something about the cost of stardom, athletic or otherwise.

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