I was excited to get two shows for the price of one when we went to see the production of 2 Shorts in Black and White. How neat to get to see two plays from veteran writer, Scot Walker. But my thoughts on each show were so very different.
I was excited to get two shows for the price of one when we went to see the production of 2 Shorts in Black and White. How neat to get to see two vignettes from veteran writer Scot Walker. But my thoughts on each show were so very different:
Count Draculas Café: Almost as soon as this play began, I was lost. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what this play was about. I know it was an allegory and I’m pretty sure it was about gay marriage, but the whole time I was worried I was missing something (other people seemed to be enjoying it much more than I was, so maybe I actually was). The play, as best I can understand, is about two gay vampires (Jase Parker and a particularly dreadful Boris Alexander) who manage a coffee shop. The FDA has banned vampires from taking homosexual blood, and this seems to have upset vampires, who lounge around drinking V8 and mumbling through their dental prosthetics about their plight. Now, clearly all of this was about gay marriage, and the double standard that the government has made in allowing heterosexuals to marry. But the allegory was so convoluted that if Walker was trying to say anything more specific than that, I couldn’t tell you what it was. The acting was notably bad, but I suspect it was the message that was important. If someone can shed light on that message, I hope they will.
Molasses Toast and French Fried Eels: Now the second show was significantly better. The play was notably engaging, and a pleasant redemption from its predecessor. It’s the story of three people, who find out that their friend Kenneth can tell them the exact moment that they will die. Secrets are revealed, lives reflected upon, and plots twisted. The plot and writing get muddled at times, but I was interested enough to get past that. The acting here was better, though not amazing, with sufficiently strong performances by all of the performers: Robin Vereen, Wayne Smith Sr., Tom Shanklin, and Richard Wydro. I’m not sure what the symbolism of the toast and eels is, but it is mentioned a number of times. This piece in particular felt a little forced. But, at the end, I was intrigued, and this is really all I need from a fringe show.
So, how do I rate such disparate shows? I’ve opted for an average as the latter show does do something to redeem the former.
Written by Scot Walker
Directed by: Scot Walker and Mark Baker
Produced by Twenty-first Century Theatre
Reviewed by Josh Fixler (aka 20Something)
Josh writes a blog about inexpensive DC arts and culture: www.districtbeat.com. Check it out.