By Juan Barquin
By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
Sorry for condensing all of that, but I'm running out of space. I still need to bitch about Program B.
The opening piece, Ambivalent, begins with a stunning declaration from Stephen Trovillion and then devolves into a dull morality play. Practicing and Flour Cloud are both stuck in the purgatorial middle ground between depth and puerility. The telenovela parody Donde Est Pedro Mano? is extremely funny but utterly inconsequential, and Michael McKeever's Splat! -- about Munchkins trying to clean up Dorothy's mess after she disappears down the Yellow Brick Road -- is a lot funnier in theory than in practice. I Am Not Batman would be revelatory if Bechir Sylvain's astonishing monologue weren't drowned out by utterly superfluous drumming (yes, drumming). Only John Walch's Angle of Attack and Kent Brown's Playtime are truly successful -- the former because it's sweet enough to make life seem worth living, and the latter for exactly the opposite reason.
It's worth noting that this year's Summer Shorts are being performed in the round, which is a helluva nice break, and it also merits attention that the production staff has made these plays move, transition, and communicate flawlessly, no matter where you happen to be sitting.
And that's everything, folks: the stage, the sets, the actors, and every damn play in the festival. I have covered them all. I hope this has been helpful. If not, then I guess that just goes to show you: Quantity and quality are often mutually exclusive. City Theatre, take note.