Native staging 

Native staging
Summer Shorts 2009
Through Aug. 22 at Greater Orlando Actors Theatre
669 Cherry St., Winter Park

Playwrights' Round Table is celebrating its 12th year of writing, workshopping and producing theatrical efforts by area playwrights. The group's Summer Shorts 2009 just premiered seven short works at the back-in-action stage on Cherry Street, the new home of the Greater Orlando Actors Theatre. The result of PRT's mixed bag is an evening of fair-to-good offerings, all coming from local talent.

First on the bill is Sorry I'm Late, by Larry Stallings. This fragment, barely five minutes in length, only hints at an interesting idea — a long-dead vaudevillian comes to life once a year and returns to his old haunts. After that, nothing much happens; Stallings needs to hammer out a story line.

Belief, by Al Pergande, in which two missionaries get captured and boiled alive by natives, could morph into a successful sketch a la Saturday Night Live. It's mildly amusing but needs genuine comic actors with a flair for the physical to pull it off.

Finger Food, by Dean Lundquist, exhibits a better command of the comedic tone. A fork and a spoon compare the lost art of elegant eating with silverware to today's use of throwaway utensils. The dialogue is sharp, witty and spare.

Somewhere Between the Sky and the Sea, by Alex Broun, ends the first act and is the runaway winner in terms of language and plot. Josh Geoghagan plays Ramon, an earnest composer who loves two distinctly different but very appealing women. His dilemma is examined with sympathy and equanimity, and Broun's work reveals the most mature and competent playwriting talent of the evening.

Act Two opens with David Strauss' A Different Type, a short and not very interesting dialogue between a man and a woman in a bar that ends with a fairly predictable plot twist. Grandpa Henry and the Assisted Living Facility of Doom, by Alex Carroll, is another weak attempt — this time at farce. Grandpa Henry tries to hide the philosopher's stone from an ex-Nazi nurse while regaling his great-granddaughter with aborted tales of past derring-do.

Finally, The Commission, by Michael Garvey, pokes fun at our culture's hypocrisy about gambling by substituting Florida's Lottery Commission bureaucrats with ex-Mafiosi numbers runners. It's a one-joke routine, but the play has some very funny moments and offers several over-the-top, scene-stealing roles.

Al Krulick


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