Description and review of the B Street Theatre at the Sofia Virtual New Play Brunch in April 2020.
I had been looking forward to the B Street Theatre at the Sofia Virtual New Play Brunch ever since I registered to “attend” the event. The fact that it took place on Easter Sunday was a plus as it provided me with a welcome distraction.
See related blog post: The Jeane Dixon Effect – New Play Reading
Virtual New Play Brunch
Lyndsay Burch greeted attendees, and Buck Busfield added a few comments. Lyndsay then give us a preview of the agenda. Instead of one full length play, that day we would be treated to readings of five new short plays.
SacramentoRevealed.com – All Things Sacramento (from a personal perspective)
Four of the five plays were written by New Comedies Festival finalists. The playwrights featured were:
- Robert Caisley
- Adrienne Dawes
- Peter Manos
- Briandaniel Oglesby
The fifth play was submitted by Randolph Burch who just happens to be the father of Lyndsay.
Lyndsay also shared that the five readings would be followed by at “talk-back” with both the playwrights and the three participating actors (John Lamb, Amy Kelly and Rob Robinson).
Dog Therapy – Playwright Randolph Burch
Ever wonder what your dog(s) are thinking as they stay at home with you during the Covid-19 pandemic? You are about to find out! It just so happens that a side effect of Covid-19 is that dogs can speak English.
Being cooped up with their humans during the pandemic, dogs find themselves impacted in numerous ways. During a group therapy session to relieve stress, three dogs air their complaints. Among the issues discussed, at times accompanied by howls and barks:
- I learn to shake, and then humans stop shaking. What’s with that? “I want my treat”.
- What is it with all the hand washing? Humans smell like soap – they stink.
- Masks – they better not try to put a mask on me!
- Rumor has it that instances of humans “doing it” have increased.
- Why no stimulus checks for dogs? It’s unfair!
- When is my human going back to work? I need my nap, and (in the case of the female dog) beauty sleep.
Santa Fe – Playwright Robert Caisley
Two men are sitting on the outdoor patio of Mexican café drinking tequila. Sitting in the shade enjoying their drinks the two engage in a meandering back and forth conversation.
One man shares a long, involved story about a young woman he met in a Santa Fe hotel bar. Fast forward – the story concludes with the man giving the woman a ride home to her village in Mexico. Her grateful father gives him a bottle of Tequila and continues to send him a bottle every year.
The other man relates a story about when he worked as a security guard at a mall located in a poor section of town. He never had anything to do as no one ever stole anything. In contrast, the security guards at the nearby high-end mall were calling the cops all the time.
In between relating their stories they discuss how many people feel trapped by their lives, suffer from “too much freedom”, and they compare their differing personalities – with the second man admiring the verve (lack of constraint) of the first.
How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones – Playwright Adrienne Dawes
A woman sits down at a table in a café with a sweet bun, a book, a notebook and her headphones. She puts on the headphones and opens the book.
One of two guys at the nearby table wants to meet her. The other man is of the opinion that the headphones are a signal that she does not want to be bothered. Additionally, he opines that the best place to pick up women is at estate sales.
After a while the first guy makes his way over to the girl and sits down at the table. He helps himself to what is left of the sweet roll. That gets her attention.
The conversation between the two is tense – until he notices a “Hello I Love You” sticker on her notebook. She in turn notices a “Hello I Love You” patch on his backpack.
It does not take long before they discover that it is his podcast that she is listening to. That changes everything.
After chatting a bit they part ways, but not before each shares with the other that they often frequent the café.
A Tale of Two Spectators – Playwright Peter Manos
A man and women direct their attention to a couple in the distance. It is the lunch hour on a weekday.
The two spectators are careful not to be seen. She is eating popcorn. He has brought along opera glasses. The previous week he had stomped on his binoculars in a fit of rage. It soon becomes apparent that the two have been meeting for months on a weekly basis to observe the couple.
The two spectators pass the opera glasses back and forth. The man and women they are observing are sitting on the ground sharing a bottle of wine. The woman spectator makes a snide remark about the wine (Blue Nun) and the male spectator becomes upset when he notices that the couple is sitting on a blanket from the couch in his den.
As each of them takes their turn with the opera glasses they comment on the activities underway. The woman is dismayed when the woman is presented with a ring.
Each of the two spectators contemplates the manner in which they might confront their cheating spouse. The topic has obviously been rehashed on an ongoing basis – but neither has taken action.
As the couple in the distance prepares to depart the two spectators make chit-chat, discussing the weather among other things. As they bid each other goodbye they agree to meet again the following week.
Last Human Person on Earth – Playwright Briandaniel Oglesby
The planet Earth has been decimated. Dr. Henry emerges from his shelter wearing goggles and says “Marco” several times. When there is no answer Dr. Henry makes a notation in a notebook that it is Day 20 and there is still no evidence of human life.
After having a bite to eat Dr. Henry looks at his “to do” list. Next on the list is to conduct his funeral – but there is no one left to witness the ceremony. As he is the last human person on Earth he is also the smartest – so he decides to create a robot.
“Eric” the robot is good at listening and has super hearing. When Dr. Henry whispers “Marco” the robot replies “Polo”. Dr. Henry decides to hold a dance party funeral.
He then decides to use the music machine to invent a time machine to go back in time (pre-explosion) to save the world. It is then that we learn that Earth was destroyed by a fart that came from his lactose intolerant sister Sarah.
As Sarah reaches for the piece of cheese Dr. Henry had passed up eating earlier, Eric the robot starts to leave saying as he does “See you tomorrow in PE”.
Virtual New Play Brunch Q & A
After the five play readings the audience had an opportunity to ask questions of the playwrights and actors.
We learned a bit about each playwright. For example, Dawes is a graduate student who usually does her writing in coffee shops and she finds writing at home difficult. Oglesby, we learned, works with teenagers and is currently teaching improv classes online.
The actors were asked a variety of questions including how difficult they found it to perform given the format. We also learned that the actors had approximately 8 hours to rehearse the five plays.
See related blog post: Virtual New Play Brunch II
I was surprised to note at the end of the event that two hours had passed! It was definitely an entertaining way to spend part of the holiday as my dog Mickey and I comply with the Covid-19 stay-at-home order.
Comments on the B Street Theatre at the Sofia Virtual New Play Brunch?
Did you “attend” the B Street Theatre virtual new play brunch on Easter? If so, what would you add?
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