by Shirley Lorraine
New Year – New Works at Elite
Many theaters begin their new seasons late in January or early February. The Elite fills in the early January gap with their one-act festival before the season officially starts. Now in its 9th year, the festival is an audience favorite.
The sequence of pieces was carefully chosen to lead the audience first into exploring several deep and personal subjects, then lightening up with humor from unexpected circumstances and ending with a generous helping of character-driven hilarity.
The first, Victimology, written by Rachel Linton and directed by Katrina Rabusin, takes place in a courtroom hallway. Steven Silvers and Hayley Silvers star as siblings whose differing viewpoints on a pending courtroom outcome have them diving into dark emotional waters. The action is hesitant as the two reconnect after a long period of disengagement.
The Waiting Room covered some familiar ground for anyone who has spent time in a hospital waiting room where time moves slowly and the coffee is bitter. An elderly man (Steve Grumette) waits for his wife of 52 years to come out of surgery. He passes the time by bantering with others who are also waiting. The action is authentic and heart-felt. Grumette’s character is spot-on as he chats with Flynn Bradley, Stephanie Rise, John Comstock and Colin Fluxman. The piece was written by Steven Doloff and directed by Howard Leader.
Author Terry Riley and director Angela DeCicco had fun with Obits featuring Sandra Demongenes and Helene Benjamin Cohen. The two women are having a nibble at
Starbucks while discussing the obituaries in the newspaper. Tailored with local references with permission from the author, this delightful vignette was filled with truths, points to ponder, and humor. Hayley Silvers cameoed as the bemused barista.
Tony Stetson and John Comstock portray brothers who live distinctly dissimilar lives in Five Days in Calcutta, authored by Fred Perry. Director Larry Swartz guided the two through a potentially serious situation highlighting the humor in the delivery. The two actors work well together, producing laughter and pathos at the same time.
Rounding out the evening’s entertainment is Sisters, Tramps & Thieves penned by Lily Rusek. Director John Comstock allowed each of the characters a wide berth to have fun. Three sisters, played to the fullest by Dorrie Bran, Sharon Reinhold and Nancy Hullihan, are different in every possible way. Hullihan plays it up wearing a tiara and cape. Her mental health matches her sparkly shoes. Reinhold is the flaky dyed-in-the-batik hippie chick and Braun fills the bill as the prim and proper one. They are gathered to greet an insurance man (Larry Swartz) regarding a claim for a missing brooch. The evening concludes with a healthy dose of hilarity.
The One-Act Festival runs through February 4. Friday & Saturday eves 8 PM, Sunday matinees 2 p.m. General admission $17. Reservations are encouraged. 483-5118 Elite Theatre Company, 2731 Victoria Avenue, Fisherman’s Wharf, Channel Islands Harbor www.elitetheatre.orgATRE COMPANY
2731 S. Victoria Ave
ELITE THEATRE COMPANY
2731 S. Victoria Ave
Oxnard CA 93035