The Somerville literary organization the Bagel Bards founded in 2004 by Doug Holder and Harris Gardner has a huge pool of talented poets, playwrights, novelists, etc… One member Lawrence Kessenich recently had a play he had written on stage. Zvi Sesling, founder of the Muddy River Poetry Reviewreviewed it for Off the Shelf:
A Play by Lawrence Kessenich
Peformed at Hovey Players
also 9 other plays
Review by Zvi A. Sesling
The concept of the Hovey Players is wonderful: ten 10-minute plays by talented playwrights
blended with experienced and new actors. The play I was to review was Lawrence Kessenich’s Ronnie’s Charger, which was recently a prize winner in Chicago. It was ably directed by Jess Viator. Frank Bartucca and Kate Blair are the parents whose grief thirty years after their son was killed in action in Vietnam has not abated. Both actors portray their thirty years of suffering realistically and Kessenich has dialogue that is perfectly believable, portraying anger and heartbreak at Ronnie’s death. The Charger, of course, is the auto that Ronnie owned and was proud of, which has become a metaphor for life, death and rebirth: the car at first serving as Ronnie’s life then as it rots in the driveway, symbolizes his death and finally, after the car is vandalized and the trunk popped open, raccoons move in to raise their ones and the final symbol of resurrection culminates the play.
There are five dramas, all of which in one way or another are didactic. The first Life Choice is about abortion, a mother (Kate Forrestall) and her daughter (Kate Blair), argue about life, death and abortion. It is written by Andrea Clardy and directed by Jesse Strachman. The second, It Doesn’t, is about a Good Samaritan-like counselor (Jon Nuquist) and a young man (Richie DeJesus). The latter, who has been outed in school as being gay wants to commit suicide and calls the counselor who tries to talk him out of suicide. The play is written by George Smart and Directed by Kaitlyn MacPherson. The third is entitled Fork in the Road and has a wonderful concept of four women – all one person? speaking about cancer survival. The four women are Sami Malnekoff, KC O’Connor, Nicole Pavol and Tristyn Sepersky. The drama is written by Eoin Carney and directed by Mike Haddad.
The final drama is Rosie the Teddy Bear acted by Tristyn Seperksy. Written by Steven Bergman and Liz Fenstermaker it is a sad monologue by a teddy bear who has been discarded and waits for its child to return. It is also about abuse and abandonment, and like the others is didactic and attention getting.
Of the five, however, Ronnie’s Charger stands out as being the best acted, least didactic and most easy with which to associate.
Hovey Players also performed five comedies, Diamonds& A Girl’s Best Friend is a very humorous play with some great lines, well acted by Stephanie Grinley, Kimberly Truon, KC O’Connor and Sami Malnekoff. Clever writing by Katelyn Tustin and well directed by Kristine Mackin.
The theme song to the movie and TV show M.A.S.H. was “Suicide Is Painless.” Playwright John Greiner-Ferris and director Katelyn Tustin show us that while suicide is not painless, as acted by Kimberly Truon, Ron Gabrielli and Matthew Hathorn, suicide can be funny.
Dan in the Lion’s Den is clumsily funny. A family watches as the father-husband enters a zoo’s lion area and emerges intact. Cody Tustin, just out of high school plays the son, Kristin Riopelle, the daughter and Carolyn Cafarelli is the mother.
The Change along with Ronnie’s Charger were clearly the night’s best. The Change is about a man entering a hospital for an appendectomy and waking to find they made him a woman. Written by Peter Floyd and acted by Kate Forrestall and Robin Gabrielli, it is extremely funny
especially when discovering his/her plight Ms. Forrestall provides the audience with the ultimate
look of horror.
Not Funny lives up to its name. It is the final “comedy” but as conceived by playwright Chris Lockheardt and director Mike Haddad it is more of a serio-comedy, perhaps more drama and
well performed by Kristie Norris and Andy Leburn.