IN THE DINING ROOM
Studio C Artist Performing Space
Reviewed by Robert Axelrod
Studio C Artists’ current offering, IN THE DINING ROOM, is ten one-act plays spread over two nights. The “menu of performances” have the “Knife” section containing FLIPPING THE BIRD, LEVITICUS RISING, MIKEY, IMAGINARY SPAGHETTI, and A LINE IS DRAWN AT RUBY TUESDAYS, while the “Fork” section has FAR FROM THE TREE, BUNKER, TABLE 3, B.Y.K.O.T.A., and 20:30. The set pieces for all the plays are a large dining table and four chairs center stage. We partook of the Fork section last night and taste was rather pleasant on the whole.
FAR FROM THE TREE, written by Lena Bouton and featuring Ms. Bouton, Max Lichting, and J. Richey Nash, is a love triangle piece with a double twist at the end. Amanda Hallman direction is quite satisfactory.
BUNKER takes place during the L.A. Riots and builds enough tension via the characters’ relationships juxtaposed with what’s going on outside to keep the audience on edge. Michael Camacho, Holiday Kinard, and Rhonda Tinch-Mize star in this Jeremiah Benjamin penned shorty. Michael Lamb directed.
TABLE 3 is set in a restaurant where the dating couple choose a table whose waitress is the ex-fiance of the man. Misunderstandings and complications ensue. Lena Bouton again appears as the femme side of the date, Scot Shanblin is the man caught in the middle, and Rebecca Herrick is the waitress with a surprise package at the end. Written by Tim DeRoche, directed by Sabrina Lloyd.
B.Y.K.O.T.A. (Be Ye Kind To One Another) finds two couples around the table at their weekly post church Sunday brunch, clashing over a suspected affair. True to the form of the entire evening, writer Scott Gerard ends this one with things very much tantalizingly up in the air. Jordan James Smith directed Shannon Bunchman, Xander France, Jake Jacobi, and Clancy McLain.
20:30 has a “Twilight Zone” like plot in which a loving couple can’t come up with their monthly payment to….what?! Writer James Edward Quinn and director Amanda Hallman keep us wondering until an unseen TV commercial airs off-stage to sort of give us the answer. Yuki Sagara and Wes McGee star.
The common thread among the five plays is love around a dinner table and up in the air endings that provide food for thought. Uniformly well written, acted, and directed, they provide for a pleasing evening. The two sections alternate on weekends playing now through September 14th, 2013. The Studio C Artist Performing Space is located at 6448 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, 90038. Call 323-988-1175 or visit www.studiocartists.com for tickets and information. The performance is dark Labor Day weekend.