Thursday, April 18, 2019

Millibo's second annual WTF showcases local female talent

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 2:38 PM

click to enlarge Millibo Art Theatre’s Women’s Theatre Festival features five plays and one poem, all written by Colorado Women (with four from Colorado Springs). - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Millibo Art Theatre’s Women’s Theatre Festival features five plays and one poem, all written by Colorado Women (with four from Colorado Springs).

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m., through April 28, Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $18-$25, themat.org.

With the right variety of profundity, comedy and drama, a night of one-act plays can feel like popcorn — an indulgent snack that you can’t quite seem to stop yourself from eating and miss terribly once you reach the bottom of the bucket.

The Millibo Art Theatre’s WTF #2, the second annual Women’s Theatre Festival, proves filling in so many unique ways. Featuring five plays and one poem, all written by Colorado Women (with four from Colorado Springs), WTF showcases plentiful local female talent.

The festival opened with roaring success on Open Concept, written and directed by Lisa Siebert and featuring knockout actresses Anna Faye Hunter and Jane Fromme. Hunter plays the neurotic housewife Cheryl, Fromme the enthusiastic realtor trying to sell Cheryl’s home, and the comedic energy between the two sparks from the second Fromme saunters through the front door. It’s no surprise my companion and I swooned over Hunter in this show — if Anna Faye Hunter shows up on the cast list, no matter the play, she will shine. We recall her roles in Accidental Death of an Anarchist and The Crucible, past plays at the Millibo, and if you’ll pardon the cliché: That kid is going places.

The festival’s biggest successes proved to be its bookends, as the other standout was the final play in the lineup: One Man’s Trash by Leslie C. Lewis, directed by Marisa Hebert, featuring Lynn Jacobs and Lynne Hastings. Providing meaningful commentary on art and perspective, on race and privilege, One Man’s Trash had so much to say, and managed to say it while making our opening night audience laugh like donkeys. Jacobs’ erratic mannerisms as an eccentric divorcee play off Hastings’ straight-man sobriety to great success, but both add dimension to their characters that keeps the play from feeling too heavy-handed, though certain parts of the script could have been more subtle.

Overall, the festival delighted. “Like a Living Breathing Janus,” the poem by Lara Gaydos, landed hard with effective, snapshot storytelling that provided a nice counterpoint to the night’s comedy. A Moderate Proposal, which offered commentary on the divisiveness of modern politics, started slow but revved up to total comedic success, and we found Positively Ridiculous and Nomads of Disaster/Listening to Chernobyl to be alternately silly and heartfelt in their own ways (obligatory kudos to Charlie Ammen and Jane Fromme for their Russian accents).

I regretted reaching the end of this particular bucket of popcorn, but should the Millibo continue to stage this annual festival, I’ve no doubt there are plenty more treats to be had.

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