Summer Shorts has always aimed to be Saturday Night Live with a pulse (only, you know, funnier). And it would seem that City Theatre has found some gold this year with a tremendous cast and talented playwrights such as Demos-Brown. "For me, the hardest part of writing a short play is accepting that the audience's expectations are much different than with a full-length production," he says. "I think, generally, they just want a good laugh that is something more than a cheap stand-up gag."

Katherine Wright (left), Elizabeth Dimon, and Stephen Trovillion in The Man From Mars.
Rodrigo Gaya / World Red Eye
Katherine Wright (left), Elizabeth Dimon, and Stephen Trovillion in The Man From Mars.

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Artistic director John Manzelli. June 1 through 17 at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater, 1300 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets cost $35.

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There isn't a single play among the nine that feels empty or like mere filler for a festival looking to cram a bunch of performances into one night. This year's Summer Shorts is an even blend of absurdity and poignancy, tenderness and vulgarity. And the result is uproarious, sidesplitting fun.

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Kenneth Ellis
Kenneth Ellis

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