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One-Act Fest: serves up nine shades of funny

In “The Statue of Bolivar,” SueEllen Van Duyne plays a hopeful single woman and Mimi Rooney is a wise-cracking teen out to burst her bubble.  - Connie Mears/Staff Photo
In “The Statue of Bolivar,” SueEllen Van Duyne plays a hopeful single woman and Mimi Rooney is a wise-cracking teen out to burst her bubble.
— image credit: Connie Mears/Staff Photo

Dinah Manoff knows a good script when she reads one. And she’s read thousands.

Manoff won a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in Neil Simon’s “I Ought To Be In Pictures.” She’s been on Broadway numerous times, on the big screen and on TV, written and directed for theater and television.

She may have read a thousand scripts just to find the nine gems for the second annual One-Act Fest which runs Jan. 21-23 at Bainbridge Performing Arts.

The Bainbridge resident teaches acting at BPA, and last year launched the One-Act Fest to showcase her students’ talent.

Last year’s “sampler” of short plays has given way to this year’s “sampler” of comedy: slapstick, black humor, spoofs, send-ups.

Sunday, the diminutive Manoff addressed 27 Northwest Actors Lab members before first run-through.

“Think of this, not as a run-through, she said, “but as a stumble-through. A really sh*tty first run.”

On the contrary, most were on the mark in anticipation for next weekend’s showcase.

The nine scripts run the gamut from poignant to laugh-out-loud silly.

“Surprise,” by Mark Harvey Levine, follows the adventures of a pyschic who can see into the future - but only the next two minutes. Starring Sam McJunkin as the psychic, Michelle Allen and Kristine Hughes-Tibbs.

The testosterone-driven “Tarantino Variation,” by Seth Kramer, features actors Sam Weiss, Bob Tull and Jim Anderson. The trio channels silliness in this cross between raw agression and classic Stooges.

“The Statue of Bolivar,” by Eric Lane, follows a woman anxiously waiting for her date only to be ambushed by an acerbic teen. SueEllen Van Duyne, last seen in Annie, plays it straight against BPA mainstay Mimi Barcomi-Rooney. Rooney brings an Ellen Page edge to her role.

“Medea,” by Chris Durang, spoofs the Greek tragedy by asking the age-old question: Is it appropriate to kill your children to punish your husband? Corinna Munter, as Medea, dusts off some Diva for this campy role. Arthur Mortell, Sam Weiss and Warren Read provide gaffes and laughs. Miraculously Lori Anderson, Jennifer Carillo and Marybeth Redmond Borgwardt manage to keep a straight face.

“The Oldest Profession” features five “working girls” at the end of their very, very long careers. Bob Tull falls for one of the shady ladies played by Renee Longstreet, Linda Owens, Ruth Urbach, Paulette Jacobsen and Tracey Dickerson.

“First Love,” by Donald Margulies, draws an audible “awww” for it’s poignant pairing of two youngsters played by “veteran actors” Trent Craighead and Jennifer Allen.

“Controlling Interest,” by Wayne Rawley, is a hilarious coming of age parody that imagines how adults would navigate adolescence following Robert’s rules of order. Ringleader Robert Craighead, David Cowan, Warren Read and Arthur Mortell are no match for the shrewd Christie Capps and Shannon Sheehan. Too funny.

“Rosa’s Eulogy,” by Richard Strand, gives Kristine Hughes-Tibbs a monologue which she carries with aplomb.

“The Flying Wolimskies Return,” by David Smilow, follows with dark humor a less-than-successful family of acrobats. Jim Anderson, Brian Danzig, Barbara Deering and Sam McJunkin star in this hit (and miss) comedy.

For more information, visit www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org.

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