Through May 5|
BUFFALO QUICKIES 2018 Alleyway Theatre
“Buffalo Quickies 2018” is the strongest aggregation of one-acters in many years in the Alleyway’s series.
The seven plays this year focus on Buffalo, especially Donna Hoke’s “Spirit of Buffalo,” a theatrical takeoff on those stories about locals being stuck in winter snowdrifts and being fed and helped by neighbors, living or working just off the road.
Matthew Boyle’s “Lawn Wars” is a look at one of those crazy aspects of suburban life, lawns.
There are all sorts of stories about the Saturday morning madness, when the lawn mowers start at dawn and the obsessives are out there with rulers, measuring the height of blades of grass.
Here, Boyle (Andrew Zuccari) is a casual lawn owners with his worn electric while O’Dwyer (Christopher Standart) is one of those truly aggressive lawners with a blower.
Let the aggression begin.
There are probably fewer and fewer people who know how to keep score in a baseball game program, but the sometimes seem less interested in the game and more interested in making sure all of the little boxes are filled out exactly accurately, every “K” and every 6-4-3.”
In Michael Fanelli’s “The Death of Melendez”, Bill Lovern’s Anthony is one of those obsessives and Standart’s Joe just wants to drink beer and watch a baseball game.
There is a play that is certainly an attack on the crazy people who run TV stations and the consultants who tell them what to do to improve ratings and that means make more money selling ads.
That can include deciding all the women on the air had to be blondes (true story) or get rid of investigative reporters.
Here, in “Johnny Stormcatcher,” Channel 7 weather man Mike Randall has a tale about a veteran weather man who is told his weather forecast is being shortened, yet again, a decision of the consultant.
Johnny (Standart) is outside the studio debating whether to go on, as Jade (Jacquie Cherry) a floor worker and show producer Daryl (Kate Olena) try to persuade the weather man to do the weather show.
Then, News Director Ron (Lovern) intervenes and tries to muscle Johnny into doing the weather.
It’s so funny and so well done and so accurate.
The other Buffalo story is J. Snodgrass’ “Kick Your Heels Up And Shout,” a look at one of those staples of local life, the obsessive Bills fan who takes over the living room with its giant TV and the table filled with quick food and other major food essentials and watches a game, as the family tries to lead a life.
I have known people like Bill (Lovern) and I suspect most of us have or are that person, who has lived through the few good years and the many bad years.
It’s pointed and poignant and real.
Justin Karcher’s “When the Skeletons in Our Closets Choke on Candy Corn” is a look at a guy trying to keep his mind straight, Zuccari’s Mike and Tom Dreitlein’s Sam.
It’s Halloween and one is in costume ready to stay drunk and the other is digging a hole in the back year, for reasons unclear to the partyer.
Perhaps, he’s looking forward to the religious symbolism of Halloween and the next day.
It’s fun and twisted and very pointed about real life.
Peter Snoad’s “Notice,” looks at words and theater, that essentially intertwined mix and what T-shirts can say if you are looking.
Bella Poynton’s “The Offer” is a look at our time.
Cherry’s Grace is a former astronaut whose chance to go to Mars was cancelled when her project was cancelled.
Now, she’s a well-educated drone inside NASA, dreaming of what might have been.
Suddenly, her boss, Roger (Standart), meets with her and tells her of a lie which has upended her life.
The program wasn’t cancelled but went into deep Black and the rocket and capsules and the rest have been built and are ready to go.
Grace is offered the chance to go to Mars, probably to never return, and she has to make an immediate decision.
Think about that decision.
What would you do?
Would you abandon all you know? Everyone you know to head off on a mission into history?
That’s Grace’s choice, with no time to ponder, to consider, to make a careful decision.
“Buffalo Quickies 2018” gives you a lot to think about.
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