Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: A Hamptons Jamboree with Pill-Popping Diane (and other Rules)

Sometimes playwrights need a little guidance to set them into creation mode. A set of rules if you will. In Rule of 7x7, 7 playwrights are commissioned to write a brand new ten-minute play but before they can, they each must pick a rule the others must include. These 7 rules serve as a jumpstart for a night of fun, laughs, and a good time.
In the (Almost) Summer Edition of Rule of 7x7, producer Brett Epstein puts on the writer hat alongside Matt Barbot, Matt Cox, Dan McCabe, Donaldo Prescod, Jordan Swisher, and Stephanie Swirsky who offer a night of excitment. The rules the seven must follow range from the vague, including Diane (Stephanie), Jamboree (Jordan), and The Hamptons (Matt C) to the specific including the last line being identical to the first (Matt B), the same word being repeated 7 times in a single line of dialogue (Dan), pills being taken (Donaldo), and the inclusion of "Her breasts felt like" or "His penis looked like" (Brett). With the wackiness of the rules came 7 drastically different plays. But the fun is when the audience picked up on them. While some were clearer than others, when they were present, the reactions were pleasant. The highlights of the night included a nautical high seas adventure from the zany mind of Matt Cox and Donaldo Prescod's play about an awkward car ride with a potential serial killer.
In Stephanie Swirsky’s Lower, Dana moves back home and teaches a hybrid yoga and aerobics class called Yorobics where her pal Ashley turns out to be the worst student ever. Directed by Sarah Krohn, Lower had some great moments of funny. Matt Barbot’s Privacy follows roommates Jamie and Tim, played by the very natural Vincent Santvoord, and what seems like the end of the world when Jamie interrupts Tim’s pleasure session. Barbot’s play brings the awkward that leads to roommate wars with penis talk over Chinese food. Director Sanaz Ghajar employs a magical box of food that adds on to the oddity of the piece. The whacky world of Matt Cox brings together a mad pirate, a dumb crew, and a blood-thirsty mermaid in The Madness of Captain Dread. With an abundance of toilet humor, Cox earns the laughs with standout performances from A.J. Ditty as Captain Dread and Andy Miller as the mermaid. Donaldo Prescod’s Black People Are Dangerous follows the tension-filled car ride between Prescod’s Earl and Jessie Cannizzaro’s hitchhiking Carla. Kristin McCarthy Parker does an excellent job directing the world’s worst car ride. Jordan Swisher brings whimsical characters to life in Jamboree Jackson Joins the Circus. Filled with crass jokes and a Willy Wonka inspired plot, youthful cash-strapped Jamboree hopes to join frivolous Corenelius’ side show. Director Courtney Ulrich keeps the momentum high to make Swisher’s jokes land. Two Hamptonites sit on the beach and whine in Dan McCabe’s Hard Times for Real Hamptonites. Brad Anderson directs a trio who bring commitment to the stage, including Brett Aresco as the hilarious douche Brad. Rounding out the night was Brett Epstein’s Now & Then: Male Version directed by Josh Boerman. If you don’t know the source material, it may not resonate, but the witty inside jokes Epstein offers are quite good including Alex Mandell as an understudy in Ken Urban’s Touched in the Hamptons.
Rule of 7x7 is a celebration of talent and fun brought to life by a group of friends. With a free beer with every ticket, you’re bound to enjoy your time.