Published on January 15th, 2014 | by Zamná Ávila
Pick of the Vine
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
Little Fish Theatre continues a long (and a little heroic) tradition with Pick of the Vine: Season 12, their annual selection of the best of the hundreds of plays that are submitted to them every year.
This year more than 600 plays were considered and winnowed down to eight.
The heroism is in the selecting process: all the plays are read by several members of the company and the best are given a cold reading before the eight finalists are selected. Think about how much work that takes, multiply it by a dozen, and if that isn’t heroic it is at least exhausting.
This year, the eight plays, directed variously by James Rice, Perry Shields and Danielle Ozymandias, are all comic — even when they deal with a serious subject.
Romeo & Juliet Act VI – The Gloomiest Peace by Daniel Ferrigni and directed by Ozymandias, mixes television’s Special Victims Unit with Shakespeare in a mish-mash that has the detective reciting in iambic pentameter. Obits, written by Romney Humphrey and directed by Rice, takes a serious subject and deals with it as a lesson in journalism and as a lesson in humanity as well. The Milkman by MJ Halberstadt, directed by Shields, tells a very simple story of a friendship between an eleven-year-old (played by company newcomer Rhiannon Franck-Thompson) and a milkman (Scott T. Finn), which is simple and charming.
Eight cast members: Franck-Thompson, Finn, Gloria Maxwell, Susie McCarthy, Holly Baker-Kreiswirth, Gary Robbins, Bill Wolski and Christina Desiere make up the ensemble cast. The cast not only manages costume changes, but scenery changes as well. The whole thing, eight plays in all, is more than two hours. You leave the theater a little dazed and dazzled by it all — the imagination the playwrights have, the inventiveness of the cast. And watch out for Wolski and Finn: two very different actors in style and demeanor, both exciting to watch.
Tickets are $27 for general admission and $24 for seniors. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through February 15 with matinees at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, and an additional performance Feb. 13 at 8 p.m.