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BUFFALO QUICKIES Alleyway Theatre Cabaret
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Mar 19, 2024, 12:42
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Through March 30
BUFFALO QUICKIES Cabaret/Alleyway Theatre

By Augustine Warner

“Buffalo Quickies” is a rite of the spring theater season and has been for 33 years.
Usually, it’s a mish mash of short and long one-act plays, often of erratic quality.
I believe I’ve seen all of them.
This year’s edition is quite different, four interesting and locally written segments about local life.
Clearly, this can’t sweep around the Buffalo Bills or our climate and it doesn’t.
The most painful segment isn’t Annette Daniels Taylor’s “Remember,” about dementia, rather Bella Poynton’s “Mergers & Impositions,” a look at the closing of Medaille University.
The story is Hollywood true, although the personalities in the show are Poynton’s.
As Michael Starzynski’s Bill dances around whether or not the college will close, with talk of a combination with another college, staff and faculty have to look to their future.
It’s not looking good, with department chair Laura (Kate Olena) pushing for her faculty members to not even talk about what might happen.
Shawna (VerNia Sharisse Garvin) talks about it while trying to work with her students and poetry talks.
Theo (P.K. Fortson) sees the worst coming and lands job at St. Bonaventure, courtesy of a friend.
The future is on the green board and it talks ever more loudly as Poynton’s play proceeds.
The other end of the stage spectrum is Justin Karcher’s pointed and funny “The Buffalo Bills Need Our Help.”
It’s a humorous look at those all hands on deck sessions out at the county football stadium when it’s buried in snow and there is another game to play.
Young Woman (Garvin) and Young Man (Fortson) are out there shoveling, although YW talks a good game while YM shovels, hard on the Alleyway stage.
Older Woman (Olena) and Older Man (Starzynski) are proven hard core Bills fans, made clear by their team gear, anxious for that snow to move so the game can be played.
It’s one of those local stereotypes which everyone who lives here knows is true.
Mark Humphrey’s “Cause/Effect” is this show’s butterfly event, you know, the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings affects the weather on the other side of the planet.
It’s a conversation between two coffee drinkers in Spot Coffee, Alex (Olena) and Denis (Starzynski), with Keith (Fortson) coming in later.
The poignant installment of “Quickies” is Annette Daniels Taylor’s “Remember?”
Mama (Olena) is sound of body and deteriorating of mind and getting violent.
Juno (Garvin) takes care of her on a daily basis while Max (Fortson) comes in occasionally from out-of-town to give her a break.
Pat (Starzynski) is an old friend and neighbor who is concerned about Mama’s condition and asks about her.
It’s one of the tragedies of our society that we really don’t know how to teat people like this, without putting them behind locked doors in a “memory ward” and we don’t even know what causes the various forms of dementia and can’t diagnose which is which in hopes or a treatment or (more likely) treatments.
It’s a strong and dramatic look at a growing problem.
Four “Buffalo Quickies” looks at life locally from local authors with strong performances and an annual theater event once more worth seeing in the Alleyway.

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