‘Jersey Voices’ Brings Eclectic Mix to Chatham Playhouse Stage
Friday, July 27, 2012 • 7:34pm
CHATHAM, NJ – For 17 years, The Chatham Playhouse has brought creative new one-acts to its summer celebration of New Jersey playwrights, directors and actors.
This year’s selection, culled from over 100 submissions, range from the light hearted to loss and throbbing sentiment. Each, in its way, has something to say and to ponder.
The final selection is a brilliant tour de force, written by Mary Jane Walsh, directed by Arnold J. Buchiane and performed with devastating humanity by Terri Sturtevant. The setting is New York City and the story deals with a mother who loves her son, but can’t reach him. Called “Ping,” it’s a searing account of a lost bond, weaving moments of happy memories and sad reality. This beautifully rendered piece, alone, is worth the price of admission.
But there are a number of intriguing stories. “The Incident Report” by E.M. Lewis, directed by Chris Messineo, recalls all too easily the paranoia that is experienced more and more in airports and on planes. It seems that one passenger is drunk, attacks a stewardess and other passengers are called in to give their versions of what happened. Chip Perestera as Petersen is covered with blood, making you wonder just what went on and how it will turn out. Jeff Maschi is forceful as another passenger, on the verge of anger.
“The Buffer,” fortunately, brings a lighter touch to the evening. Bill and Sarah, neatly played by Jeffry Foote and Jessica Phelan, can’t agree on friendships with other couples or single friends. No matter what compromise they attempt, it doesn’t work. Foote is hilarious as he imitates their alleged friend Eric, who can only talk about his model railroad. “The Buffer” was written by Mike Allegra and directed by Paul Bettys.
“The Portrait Gallery” by Gary Shaffer starts off the evening. Frances is sketching a likeness of Lady Jane Grey in the National Portrait Gallery in London when she’s interrupted by Dudley. Miriam Salerno, Scott Tyler and Jim Clancy all have convincing accents. One person during the talk-back said, “I felt like I was in the bloody place.” Stephen Catron directed this smart, clever piece.
“6 in the Kid” by Ralph Greco, Jr. is full of surprises. Jean Kuras as Lennie Tremlane is a well known playwright who is more interested in the titles of her plays than the plots. She invites a young writer, Been Preesman, played by Cooper Sacks, to actually write her next play. But there are twists and turns in store as we ultimately realize her reasons for this strange behavior. Terri Sturtevant contributes a number of asides, to the audience’s delight. Joann Lopresti Scanlon has directed this intriguing one-act.
“Children of September” by Eric Alter is a therapy session between Dr. Larkin (Elizabeth Royce) and Crimson (Maude Weiss.) The young woman has lost her father, but believes he still visits her. The final moments of the play are shattering, turning Larkin’s therapeutic skills upside down. Frank Briamonte directed.
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