I love watching new theater troupes spread their wings and become a part of the “theater scene” and tonight I watched Fury Theater Company’s production of “Two New Plays”, written and directed by Ellen Cribbs. In starting a new company it is of great importance that they find actors who love what they do as they won’t make a living doing this, and it appears that the talented cast members assembled here truly love being on stage, even though it is very small. These two plays are being performed at The Heartland Studio Theatre, a very intimate storefront on Glenwood Avenue, just around the corner from the Heartland Cafe ( which is where the facilities are located as well.
Despite this being a very small and intimate space, over the years, some wonderful productions have been done on the stage. While the Fury Company has some talent , the stories in these two plays are not as complete as they could be. The first play is “Seven Points For Love”, a three character play about a young man, Kevin ( well played by Tony Rossi) and his girlfriend,Jennifer ( deftly handled by Megan Gotz) who are playing Scrabble with Jennifer’s younger sister Nikki ( Paige Reilly, who almost steals the show with her bubbly personality). It is a snowy winter night as they wait for family members to get home and as they sit and play the game, Kevin is preparing to propose and decides to use the words of the game to do so. Clever idea and one that has probably been done, but every time he does a word, Jennifer goes on to do her own word without noticing what he is up to. While cute, I would have to think this might be a work in progress and perhaps a little more could be added to take it from a one act, one hour story to a full 90-100 minute presentation that will allow the development of Kevin and Jennifer and their true relationship. It is entertaining, but left me wanting to know more.
The second play, one that has a great deal more scenery and props ( I think Ms Cribbs designed this as well as it was her and the cast members from the first play that set it up during the intermission) is another story of love. Jim ( Danny Mulae, who looks to be about 15) and Nancy ( a delightful Marilyn Bass) have run off to elope. Jim wants to take her away from the small town country life and give her a better future. They are in a somewhat deserted bar on the outskirts of town. Her parents do not think he is good enough for her and they talk about “Romeo and Juliet” ( she played Juliet in the local high school production) as they discuss the future that is in store for them. They seem happy and unafraid of what lies before them as they dim the lights and hit the hay ( just thought I would drop that in as they are in a hay filled barn ( if you have hay fever tendencies, you might become a bit tearful). As they lay asleep, we hear a loud noise and gunshots as another couple enters the barn- Ted ( a powerful Matthew Gall) and Barbara ( another solid performance by Megan Gotz) are here to find a stash of money so they can run off and live a happy life together, but in order to do this, they have to break the law. I don’t want to give it all away, but during their search for the loot they talk about the future they want to share and what they are willing to do to get there; a similar story, but an older version of that which Nancy and Jim were seeking. The end is just a little awkward as I wasn’t sure just what took place as the law shows up looking for the teens and Ted and Barbara have some choices to make. I guess Cribbs wants to leave it to our imaginations as to which way it ends, and perhaps that is the best way to end this 65 minute play.
I love live theater and would take it over a movie any day of the week and this young company, in order to build its recognition and following is only charging $10 for a ticket. That is very close to the price of a movie ticket and while these plays are not Academy Award types of productions, they are a pleasant way to spend an evening, watching live theater with some strong talent and some thought provoking drama. However, being a new company with very little budget, they can only afford two week ends so you only have until March 18th to capture these shows.
Performances are Thursday,Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. To reserve your seat ( there are only 25 seats in the theater) go to www.furytheaterco.com