Review of Program One

The New Perspective Festival is definitely a hit

Robert Hitchcox


The New Perspective Festival returns with 24 new short plays by 17 San Diego Playwrights performed by about 60 actors under 21 directors. The principals behind the festival are Festival Director Kelly Lapczynski, Tech Director Marie Miller, Company Stage Manager Lizzie Silverman, and Publicity Coordinator Sally S. Stockton. My regret is that because of scheduling conflicts, I’ll only see one night of eight plays, sadly missing sixteen plays.

Unlike a full-length play, should a play not be to your liking, you know it will be over soon. Most of the plays are in the 15-minute range. In the first week only one ran to about 25 minutes. This year the audience was asked to select their favorite play of the evening . . . a nice touch.

For the died-in-the-wool theatre buff the opening play by season playwright Gary Seger was a sure hit. Break A Leg was directed by Sally S. Stockton and starred M. Susan Peck, Lee Hall, Ben Calabrese, Leticia Martinez, Calandra Crane, and [understudy] Haig Koshkarian. Seger hit most of the foibles and superstitions of theatre. Peck, as the director, had to try and accomplish the impossible with the most puckish group of actors I’ve had the displeasure of seeing. Fortunately, most actors are not nearly as bad as this group . . . I think!

A Triangular Effect by playwright Jeanne Becijos and directed by Brendon Slater stars Wendy Savage and Jonathan Sturch. Savage is a basic nutcase yogi kick-boxing aficionado who seems almost out of control. She doesn’t stop her routine for phone calls, only when joined by Sturch. What transpires is a delightfully true series of events. Watch out, though, for the surprise ending.

Director Sara Angell-Isom took Playwright Krista Knight’s mother/daughter drama, Barbed Wire Minute, for a meandering course. The two women are out rabbit hunting. Watch out for another surprise ending.

The final play before intermission was Michael Thomas Tower’s Sore to the Touch, directed by Josh Hyatt. Tyler Herdklotz and Gigi Palomera star.

After intermission they opened with the 25-minuter, Jack Dyville’s A Brand New Image, directed by John H. Cochran. The cast included Duke Pekin, Mary Fee, Rachel Bray, and Betsey Bruce Osmun (Liz), who played God. The inaction takes place in the office of a talent agent. Great idea, the marketing of God, but the script didn’t move fast enough.

Just what do you do when the apartment super, played by Reed Willard, tells you that you cannot keep a cat in your apartment? Well if you are Myrtle Debitage, played by Wendy Savage, you simply try every ploy from total craziness to sex with a capital S. This time the actress is totally crazy. How Willard managed to play his role cold straight opposite a raving nut case is beyond me. [Twisting the Cat] was written by Alan Kilpatrick and directed by Carla Nell. Thank you both for the words and the direction.

Kevin Six has written a minor (well, it’s short) masterpiece in Love Unrequited: Morning (American Masters). Now if he could only write shorter titles! Directed with passion by Catherine Miller it stars Ann Clegg as a weekly patron to an art museum and Anthony Hamm as a museum employee. She is a wealthy white donor and he is a handsome, under-paid Black guard. After a bit of small talk they separate, he to his post and she to a painting. Their inner thoughts come out. They are definitely attracted to each other. Will they express their desires or does color and station in life control them?  See it and you’ll find out.

Program One ended with Craig Abernethy’s Lovely directed by Miriam Cuperman. Josh Hyatt and Grace Delaney played Stanley and Moira. Here the conflict between the sexes is a bit different, offering very mixed messages.

Programs Two and Three offer 16 more interesting plays. In Two there is David Wiener’s brilliant Feeding Time at the Human House, Teed Off staring Jonathan Dunn-Rankin and Michael Niederman and six other plays.

In Program Three writer Gary Seger returns with The Earnest Importance of Being and columnist, actress, and playwright Paola Hornbuckle’s work, Teacher Teacher is being directed by David Paye. In both Programs Two and Three Kevin Six adds Love Unrequited: Afternoon (Asian Gallery) and Love Unrequited: Evening (European Gallery), and five others. I am really sorry I’m missing the last two weeks. They sound exciting.

I hope that you can see at least one of these productions. In this festival  playwrights, directors, and actors are generally well seasoned and you’ve probably seen them around town. There is another festival in the fall that offers new playwrights, directors, and actors an opportunity. While the quality is mixed, there you’ll be seeing some of the folks that will be here in a year or two as well as other theatres in San Diego. We are very lucky to be living in a city with so many theatres, production companies, and talent.