Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New digs

Last night was our first meeting at the Millibo Art Theatre's new theatre on S. Tejon and, even though they still have a lot of work to do, I love it already.

The space is much more open and airier, parking is a dream and I really like the quicker pulse of the neighborhood.

There was one drawback, however. Traffic is a lot busier there, and with the windows open, passing trucks and motorcycles often made it difficult to hear the actors. But that should be fixed when the MAT installs the A/C later this summer, which will allow us to close the windows.

The attendance last night was a record-breaking 27, including one new writer and five new actors. I was especially glad to have Debby Brewer join as a regular card-carrying member. She's been attending as an audience member for over a year, but last night she finally decided to come up on stage. She did a great job too, playing quirky parts in a couple of plays. It was also nice to have two younger people join us as actors.

We read six plays. We started out with the finale of Charlie Ammen's redneck comedy Beyond A Doubt. The ambiguous ending felt unsatisfying to some people, but the characters remained charming throughout. Kudos to Roy and Mary for bringing them to hilarious life.

We then enjoyed a special treat as we read Jeff Schmoyer's short play, Snow White - Alternate Ending. This bawdy comedy set the record for the largest cast of any Drama Lab play to date with something like 12 people on stage--and it got a boatload of laughs to boot. Always one of our more insightful audience members, Jeff definitely needs to bring his writing more often.

Next we read the beginning of Jess Weaver's unique drama A Pact for a Stray Cat. Jess said she loves tying media into theatre, and she showed that love last night with her clever use of voiceover. Here a 50's-style educational film narrator seemed to be instructing us on how to approach a stray cat while really commenting on the life of a suicidal teenage girl. Very powerful.

After that we read Sue Bachman's short play The Fractured Tale of Waffle-Ella. This breakfast-themed version of Cinderella set in Fiji was loaded with puns and goofy fun.

We followed that with a section from Tim Phillip's 80's girl band drama The Decibelles. This was actually a rewrite of something he shared earlier, and many people agreed that it reads much tighter and stronger now.

And we wound up with my short play You're Driving Me Crazy. This is actually the second of four high school plays centered on hellish driving experiences. In this one, a doting family insists on tagging along for a teenage girl's first behind-the-wheel class. People seemd to enjoy the characters and the mounting ridiculousness of the situation.

See you all at our next meeting on Monday, July 8!