Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
"The Proposal," by Neil Higgins and directed by Erica Andracchio, is an outstanding piece in which we see Paul Renolis as Eric waking up with a hangover after being proposed to by his lifetime boyfriend. He blacked out after the couple of drinks and calls several of his friends to find out what happened. Renolis give a bravura solo performance with an explosion of the words "fuck" and "shit."
The sparkling dialogue of "The Morning after Prom," by Richard S. Sargent and directed by Terry Maloney Haley rocks, with the talented Gabrielle Motarjemi, Stefin Collins, Kim Saunders, and Kai Brothers as three teachers who meet after the high school prom. The tacky dresses, cheesy music, and unfortunate erections are discussed by the group, as we find out it is not just the students who like to party. The cast give terrific performances.
"King for a Day," by Rita Long and directed by Geoffrey Malveaux, is exploding, to say the least. After a psychedelic trip the night before, one lesbian's fantasy is her girlfriend's nightmare. Stevie (Ryan Engstrom) gets a call from Ariel (Gabrielle Motarjemi) and he listens to a passionate conversation she is having with girlfriend Pam (Kaitlyn McCoy). The dialogue between the lesbians is intense.
The best of the scenes is "My Fairy Drag Mothers," by Neil Higgins and directed by Christian Heppinstall. It's 10 minute or so and could be 90 minutes. Two drag queens, played by Paul Renolis and Nick Leonard, visit a fledgling drag queen played by Ryan Engstrom. They are here to teach what it means to be queen. The two drags queens are hilarious and Ryan Engstrom successfully underplays the role.
"The Morning After My Family Fell Apart" is a musical by Jen Coogan and directed by Shawn West. Mark's (Donny Goglio) conservative parents Mom (Courtney Russell) and Dad (Gary Giurbino) discover he is gay. They consider sending Mark to Camp Conversion, a conversation therapy summer camp run by two doctors (Chris Maltby and Mandy Brown). The cast give good performance in this piece.
I had trouble with "One Night Fran and The Morning After," by Adam Szudrich and directed by Christopher Chase. Three very different women go on date with Fran. The actress speeds up the performance and there is no flow to their performance. In "The Morning after Alex Leaves" by Hannah Vaughn and directed by Julie Moss, Alex has gone away to college leaving nothing but an emotional void in her parents' lives. But the morning after Alex's first night away, empty nesters Lori and Sandy attempt to cope with this new separation in different ways. The acting of Kim Saunders as Lori and Anastasia Durbala as Sandy is fine but the dialogue is weak.
The Morning After is playing through November 18, 2017, at the Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco CA. For tickets www.lctc-sf.org.