North Park Playwright Festival – North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shop

The North Park Playwright Festival is unique in many ways. It is open to first-time playwrights, directors, and actors. It is becoming exceedingly difficult for tyro theatre folks to learn their art. The mission of North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shop is to provide a platform. The festival attracts scripts from around the world and local talent, both brand new and well experienced.

A Terminal Affair by Lisa Kenner of Los Angeles presents a look at a phenomenon not familiar to most people, the role-playing date. Married couples attempting to bring spice into their life usually perform this. It involves one spouse picking up the other spouse in a bar, a restaurant, or even an airline terminal. Sandra (Kelly Lapczynski) and Martin (Orrick Smith) meet complete with rolling suitcases, they banter, and they rush off. Kenner’s scripting gives Lapczynski and Smith an excellent platform for their talents. Smith directed.

Call It Semantics by San Diego playwright Tina Guido brings two elder men, Mark (Terry Johns) and John (Neal Sullivan), both now alone, reminiscing about the past, sometimes unpleasantly. Mark Anthony directed. They realize that the fondness for each other is much more than they had planned. The script is a bit wordy as it wends its way toward the final resolve. This may have been the reason for a bit more rehearsal time.

My Brother’s Stupid Hamster, by Dwayne Yancey of Fincastle, VA and directed by Summer Golden. Members of STARS played this production, a very special group of developmentally challenged young folks that train and practice theatre at North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shop throughout the year. Rachel Goldbaum acted as M.C. as Alison Portner, Luigi Flam, and Summer Golden do one-liners in the characters of a boy, a grandfather, and a mom.

Cold Water is written by Nashville, Tennessee playwright Thomas Heine and directed by Chris Willemin. Two duelists (Anya Singleton) and (Gina Faustino), in this period piece, are at a canyon rim pistols in hand. The discussion that follows is strange. Will they or won’t they duel? It is finally resolved quite strangely.

The Good Teacher: Circa 1955 by April Freeman of San Diego and directed by Mark Anthony, who also plays a television reporter. Terry Johns is the cameraman and Summer Golden is a kindergarten schoolteacher. Looking back just over 50 years, we find that this teacher is extremely racists by today’s standards. Little girls learn about wifely duties, while boys learn about manly pursuits. The stereotypes of white and black are well delineated. It would have worked as a satire if the playwright did her research more carefully. The ending hook, while a shocker, was totally out of character and way, way over the top.

Husband of My Dreams by Susan Price Monnot of Metairie, Louisiana gives the audience a challenge. Is Linda Cummings (Wendi O’Hara) dreaming when she wakes up in the bed of her first husband, Dr. Jason Phillips (Gene Rathswohl)? Is she really married to Mick Cummings (Brian Lee Burke)? Why does the cop, Officer Mason (Chaz Close) return out of uniform to console her. What fun! Disclaimer: I directed.

Technical Staff

Jeff Bushnell

Date Reviewed: October 12, 2007

Dates: Friday & Saturday, October 12 to November 3, 2007

Running Time: One and a half to two hours

North Park Vaudeville

2031 El Cajon Blvd

San Diego, Ca

Box Office Phone 619 647-4958

Robert Hitchcox is a playwright, critic and fiction author, who reviews live theatre.