A Wonderful Night of One Acts at Penn’s Place

Gail Wagner and Molly Keifer IN The Body That Spoiled the Vicar's Tea by Albert Them
Gail Wagner and Molly Keifer IN The Body That Spoiled the Vicar’s Tea by Albert Them

I guess as a playwright I should give some flowing intro about Saturday night’s staged reading fundraiser at Old New Castle’s Penn’s Place for the Reedy Point Players. I guess I should, but I don’t really know what to say.

Okay, it was wonderful and everyone’s plays were great. It was kind of intimidating.

Lisa Coruzi’s one act “Letting Go” starring Molly Keifer as Jenny and Gail Wagner as Aunt Gillian was captivating. Ms. Kieffner’s portrayal of terminally ill Jenny hit all the right notes, drawing emotion out of the audience. As Baby Bear said, “It was just right.” Ms Wagner’s portrayal of the (well I can’t tell you because it would ruin it) was superb in its abruptness and sensitivity.

Albert Them had three one act plays. The first, “The Body that Spoiled the Vicars Tea” was a screwball comedy reminiscent of the high octane interchanges of Jeeves and Wooster. Ms. Keifer and Ms. Wagner were in this show as well. They were joined by Matthew Furman playing vicar Polynaise and Kevin Austra as the local constabulary. The show focuses on a misplaced dead body and some slightly scrambled lunatics who are trying to have tea and gloat about successful gardening. I have seen Mr. Furman before and he is always a treat. Mr. Austra was new to me and he has a certain something about him; I’d like to see him in something else.

The second was actually more of a witty sketch than a full-length One act. (Can I say full length One Act? Hmmm). It was quite delightful and all about the trials of diary keeping. Phyllis Diller, the grand dame of comedy, who often said jokes were made up of the set-up, the payoff, and the punchline, would have loved this shorty.

His next One Act “Corpse” at first, seemed like reworking of a Noir whodunit until the coroner played by Ms. Kiefer said probably the funniest line of the night. She was pointing to the corpses shirt – played with skill and aplomb by Dan Davis (I have a dangling modifier, Dan played the corpsmen, not the shirt)—anyway she pointed at the shirt which had a red oval splotch of blood around a blue one. When asked what the blue was, she said, “It’s blood. He was rich!” It was a scream.

Program From Saturday night
Program From Saturday night

My first play was “Memento Mori: Why Marley Saved Scrooge.” This was the second time Erin Miller and Dan Davis had played St. Peter and Jacob Marley respectively and Kevin Furman played Michael the Archangel. It was an excellent job with all inhabiting their roles. This is the third time I’ve heard it on stage from three different sets of actors and each time I pick up something new.

My second show and the one I was most excited about, was the first ever reading of “Screaming into the Surf.” This was a world apart from the Marely play with Ms. Miller playing Beth a military veteran nurse and Mr. Davis Playing Joe, an unemployed infantry veteran. I know I wrote it and I know I’m biased, but I loved it. I thought Ms. Miller and Mr. Davis squeezed every emotion they could out of the script. The direction by Ms. Coruzzi really made me proud. If there was any weakness, is that it went on two lines too long. People laughed when they were supposed and reflective when they supposed to.

That’s it for tonight. It was a great night, with great people, and all for a good cause.

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