Review of Heck-Rabi plays

WSU Studio Theatre presents heck of a festival at Heck-Rabi competition

By SAMANTHA WHITE, Special to The Oakland Press

Read original article here.

"Poinsettia Blues"

The Studio Theatre’s Heck-Rabi one-act festival is an emotional and fun time at the theater. This is one show you won’t want to miss this theater season. As Herbie says in one of the plays in the festival, “cross my heart and hope to fart.”

For the past 13 seasons, The Studio Theatre, downstairs at Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre, has hosted the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition. The winners get the opportunity to work with student directors and actors and have their work showcased in a full production at the theater.

IF YOU GO

The Studio Theatre’s Heck-Rabi one-act festival runs at 8 p.m. March 30, 31 and April 5, 6, 7 at 4743 Cass Avenue in Detroit. Tickets are $5. For more information about Studio Theatre, visit www.wsustudio.com or call 313-577-6798.Three plays won this year, “Her” by Edmund Allyn Jones, “The Diary of Herbie and Madge” by Dave Toomey and “Poinsettia Blues” by Carollette Phillips. Three very different plays that work well together because they give you three different dynamics you usually have to visit the theater three separate times to experience.

 “Her” is a story about Ezra who uses poetry to tell the tale of his most meaningful relationship. He uses his imagination, words and examines his other former relationships to try to cope with the loss of the love of his life, Chrissy. This is the first presentation in the series of plays. It is by far the literary valedictorian of this festival using melodic alliteration and rhythmic verses to tell a sexually charged story about all of the good and bad that happens between two people when they’re in love.

“The Diary of Herbie and Madge” is the shortest of the vignettes. It’s cute and fun — it has a very Vaudeville feel to it. The comedic story is entertaining; however, it ran about 15 minutes too long. It could’ve been a bit shorter and more precise as the banter between Herbie and gift shop owner Madge was exhausting after 20 minutes. He wants to return his daughter’s defective diary and she doesn’t allow him to do so. In the meantime, 90 year old pistol carrying Mrs. Floopington gets involved and all heck breaks lose. The greatest thing about this show is that it lets your immaturity fly, and you can’t help but get tickled at ridiculous sayings like “cross my heart and hope to fart.”

“Poinsettia Blues” is the most touching piece of the festival with the simple but powerful story of a family coping with the abandonment of their mother and wife. The father, Michael then brings a new woman into his children’s lives, Linda. The play is the perfect ending to the festival after viewing the angst of the first show and the comedic second presentation. ‘Poinsettia’ brings the festival full-circle with its realistic spin on one of life’s most challenging and rewarding dynamics, family. Robert J. Hammond ends the show with a heart-wrenching performance as MJ. The actor brought an authentic element to the show that kept him reeling through curtain call—you could see him returning to reality from the depths of his character to take a bow.

“Her” features Aaron Glenn of Wyandotte as Ezra, Katie Foster of Harrison Township as Belle, Kelsey Lusch of Clinton Township as Denise and Ashley Shamoon of Northville as Jessie.

“The Diary of Herbie and Madge” features Joe Hamid of Coral Springs, Florida as Herbie, Alyssa Lucas of Garden City as Madge and Yesmeen Mikhail of Wyandotte as Mrs. Floopington.

“Poinsettia Blues” features Zee Bricker of Detroit as Linda, Michael Gingerella of Madison Heights as Michael, Robert J. Hammond of Troy as MJ, Sarah Kuzdak of Redford as Janelle, Malvina Mirowski of Sterling Heights as Deniece and Bryauna Perkins of Chesterfield as Sugar.

 

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