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The truth about men and women 

One-act plays address age-old conflicts of the sexes

click to enlarge Kaleb Kohart (Murphy), Tim Lambert (Hank Jake) and Jordan Arrick (Sal) in Men Without Dates. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Kaleb Kohart (Murphy), Tim Lambert (Hank Jake) and Jordan Arrick (Sal) in Men Without Dates.

Next weekend's production of two one-act plays at the Fine Arts Center's Repertory Theatre Company may be one of those events where husbands and wives go together but end up leaving with their buddies (in the case of the men) and girlfriends (in the case of the women). The double-header of one-act plays True Brunettes and Men without Dates offers a lot of "aha!" and "amen!" moments for both sexes.

The first, True Brunettes, takes place in a church basement in preparation for a covered-dish supper. One of the women, Atlanta, is missing on account of her having assaulted her husband in a most unusual way after learning that he is having an affair. Her lifelong "friends" gossip and speculate about her motives and actions until she arrives and takes them to task for such disloyalty. Things heat up even further when the woman having an affair with Atlanta's husband shows up with her covered dish as well.

"One of the things that is so unusual about this play is that all of the characters are well developed and everyone has an integral part," said director Barbara Summerville of True Brunettes. The play has never been published, but it was performed in Colorado Springs almost 20 years ago as part of TheatreWorks' one-act play competition. One of the original cast members is also in this version.

The artistic director for the Repertory Theater Company, Sandra Womochil Bray, was also involved in the original production, and chose to revive it because the FAC is adding two plays per year to its production schedule: "I wanted to find something contemporary, something edgy to put between the musicals," she said. "We're really working on starting something here, and True Brunettes was a perfect first production."

Although the play was written almost 20 years ago, it is a little edgy, very funny and quite surprising, all within 50 minutes.

Once they had scheduled a play with an all-female cast, Bray and production assistant Melissa Ruchong set out to find another play to provide counterweight to Brunettes. They found it in Men without Dates, a one-act play that features two firefighters at a bar. One of the men is due to get married; the other wants to talk him out of it. In the midst of their often funny, sometimes tense discussions, an obnoxious bartender enters and messes with everything, giving the buddies someone against whom to unite.

First-time director Ruchong revels in "finding the details about the characters, and helping the actors find them too. The two men have responsibilities to themselves, to other people, but they're just not ready to grow up."

The double-header of True Brunettes and Men without Dates will kick off the FAC's play series, which is looking to attract theatergoers who are not necessarily musical fans but who like "play plays," says Bray. Already the FAC does four musicals and a children's play each season, so the addition of two plays will be quite substantial. Bray is uncertain how many of those plays will be one-acts, or if any will be original for the FAC.

As a kickoff to a new project, True Brunettes and Men Without Dates promise to be lively and funny. Just be prepared to retire to your gender-specific corner at the end, with a good drink and lots of "uh-huh, that's how it really is sister/brother. That's how it really is."

-- Andrea Lucard

capsule

True Brunettes and Men Without Dates

March 12, 13, 14 and 19 at 8 p.m. March 20 at 2 p.m.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.

Call 634-5583

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