Published: April 18, 2012
At Fells Point Corner Theatre Through April 29
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Fells Point Corner Theatre debuted its 10X10 concept last year. It’s back for this second iteration due to popular demand, and no wonder. The production, a collection of 10 10-minute plays, this year chosen out of a pool of 69 plays submitted by 47 playwrights from around the country, is super fun, offering a crash course in theater, with plays ranging from quirky to comedic to serious. While all the plays are enjoyable, there were some clear standouts (which could be in the running for the audience choice award).
The show opens with the world premiere of Baltimore playwright Sharon Goldner’s “Bazookas,” in which a woman (Tessa Blische) has removed her two breasts (Anne Shoemaker and Kate Shoemaker) to berate them for their less-than-ample size. Anne Shoemaker, who recently performed in the fabulous FPCT production of The Iceman Cometh, proves to be the most captivating presence of the night, appearing in the two strongest shows. “Survey Pro,” by Geoffrey Welchman of Baltimore, finds a man (David Shoemaker, also from The Iceman) sitting in his living room with a beer when his phone rings and a telemarketer (Anne Shoemaker) launches into a bewildering spiel about a customer survey, in a syrupy Southern drawl. She perfectly embodies the cool, collected telemarketer as David Shoemaker gets increasingly flustered. It is perhaps the best show of the night.
“The Litnus, The Treasure, the Grumpus and Dave,” a piece by Los Angeles’ Andy Grigg, is Anne Shoemaker’s show once more. She plays Jody, a girl hopelessly in love, who travels to the ends of the Earth finding treasures to impress her beloved, the oblivious Dave (Josh Snowden). Grigg’s writing is fantastic, using clever rhyme like a modern-day epic. When Shoemaker climbs the stairs, bracing herself for the ultimate challenge—bringing back the monstrous Grumpus’ head—she is powerful, emitting such energy it’s impossible to look away.
As actors take on different roles throughout the evening, they get a rapidfire opportunity to display their chops. In “Hot Frog,” by Baltimore’s Kate Bishop, the always engaging Helenmary Ball plays Gladys, the wicked old witch from “Hansel and Gretel”; she later transforms into Doris for Tom Coash’s “Kamasutra,” appearing in a breezy sundress to coax a little romance out of her longtime husband. Sophie Hinderberger does one of the most impressive 180s, appearing in “Hot Frog” as the evil seductress Hildy before becoming Julie, an awkward, chatty girl with one fake leg in Chris Shaw Swanson’s “People Like Us.” 10X10 is a wonderful demonstration of the myriad possibilities of the stage.
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