Summer Shorts: Series A OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Carol Rosegg
  • Summer Shorts
  • NY TIMES

  • NY POST

  • STAGE BUDDY

  • PUBLIC REVIEWS

Opening Night:
July 18, 2014
Closing:
August 29, 2014

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

Synopsis: 

Summer Shorts returns for another summer of new American one-acts featuring original plays by the country’s top playwrights. Representing some of today’s best writing, directing and acting talents, Summer Shorts celebrates theater, summer and the short form. The festival’s two separate series offer a diverse range of voices, styles and subject matter. Summer Shorts 2014 offers six world premiere one-act plays, presented as two separate evenings of three each. The two series will run in rotating repertory.

Series A: July 18th – August 29th, 2014

THE SKY AND THE LIMIT
By ROGER HEDDEN & Directed by BILLY HOPKINS
Much to the amusement of his best friend, a young man dives into one of America’s mesa strewn deserts in search of the perfect site for a wedding.

RIVERBED
By ERIC LANE & Directed by MATTHEW RAUCH
A lyrical drama about a married couple the experiences an intense loss and their struggle to find their way back to each other.

SEC. 310, ROW D, SEATS 5 AND 6
By WARREN LEIGHT & Directed by FRED BERNER
Three guys share two season tickets as they watch the Knicks, and their lives, pass before their eyes.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Summer Shorts: Series A

    So, Winning Isn’t the Only Thing? ‘Summer Shorts: Series A’ Offers 3 One-Act Plays

    Alexis Soloski

    July 24, 2014: Marriages are celebrated. Divorces are granted. Children are born. Parents die. And through all the joy and tumult and change, the Knicks continue to lose. That’s the sweetly despairing premise of Warren Leight’s Sec. 310, Row D, Seats 5 and 6, the highlight of the three one-acts in Summer Shorts: Series A at the 59E59 Theaters. The play follows three friends — the crabby Roman (Peter Jacobson), the irresolute Eddie (Geoffrey Cantor), the composed Josh (Cezar Williams) — drawn back to Madison Square Garden year after year to wallow in basketball catastrophe. At the end of one horrific game, Josh announces he’s finished with season tickets. “It’s been 10 years of heartbreak,” he says. “I’m done. I’m not coming back. My last game, my last year.” The next scene finds him in his usual seat.

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  • NEW YORK POST REVIEW OF Summer Shorts: Series A

    Leight brightens ‘Summer Shorts’

    Elisabeth Vincentelli

    July 24, 2014: Warren Leight found a nifty way to sum up 20 years’ worth of Knicks agony: In Sec. 310, Row D, Seats 5 and 6, the Tony-winning writer of Side Man — and longtime executive producer on Law & Order: SVU — tracks season-ticket holders through decades of personal and athletic turmoil. One goes through a divorce, another loses his mother. Through it all, the one reassuring constant is the basketball team’s everlasting mediocrity. As directed by Fred Berner, this slight but well-crafted one-act play captures the banality of diminishing expectations — accompanied, as it so often is, by the hope that you can rebuild your life, and your team will be in the playoffs again. Too bad the rest of Summer Shorts (Series A) isn’t on this level. (Series B starts July 26 and includes a piece by regular contributor Neil LaBute.) In Roger Hedden’s The Sky and the Limit, two dudes have a dude-like conversation about not very much while one of them lies injured after jumping off a cliff. Turns out it’s not enough to believe you can fly, even when you’re in your mid-20s and feeling invincible.

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  • STAGE BUDDY REVIEW OF Summer Shorts: Series A

    Review: Summer Shorts: “The Sky and the Limit,” “Riverbed,” and “Sec. 310, Row D, Seats 5 and 6″

    Dave Osmundsen

    July 24, 2014: The Sky and the Limit starts out with a sickening CRUNCH sound. When the lights come up, we see George (Shane Patrick Kearns) sprawled flat on the ground, wincing and moaning in pain. He has just suffered a serious injury on a backpacking trip with his best friend Aldie (Alex Breaux). When Aldie catches up to him, he and George wait for the pain to subside so they can move on with their trip. The play starts out as a light, yet intelligent light buddy-comedy. But before we know it, The Sky and the Limit takes a very serious turn and becomes a hauntingly lovely exploration of the limits of friendship, love, life, and what we are truly able to see. The rough-and-ready George and the "classy" Aldie make an entertaining odd couple, and Breaux and Kearns are believable as both individuals and close friends. Allison Daugherty also has a poignant and sympathetic turn as Ruth, George's girlfriend's well-to-do mother. In Riverbed Adam and Megan (played by Adam Green and Miriam Silverman, respectively) suffer the tragic loss of their child, and try to cope with the loss in their own individual ways. The play is mostly structured as mental monologues -- sometimes Adam and Megan meet, but for most of the play they remain in their own worlds. Out of the three one-acts of the evening, Riverbed took the fullest advantage of its theatrical medium, combining lighting, abstract blocking, poetic text, and a sound-scape to tell its story (Nick Moore, the sound designer/composer, deserves a shout-out for his work in all three of the one-acts).

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  • THE PUBLIC REVIEWS REVIEW OF Summer Shorts: Series A

    Summer Shorts Series A – 59E59 Theatres, New York

    Jonathan Alexandratos

    July 24, 2014: In its eighth year, Summer Shorts presents two series (A & B) of one-act plays by playwrights that are, at least, mid-career, if not quite established. This year, comments have been abuzz over the line-up across both series, which includes not one woman, and not one writer of color. While one cannot instantly engage with every decision regarding the selection of plays, one can be disappointed, solely from an audience perspective, that a greater range of voices were not presented. This bland tone, unfortunately, permeated into most, though not all, of the work. Roger Hedden’s The Sky and the Limit was up first. While featuring an extremely talented bunch of actors (Alex Breaux, Shane Patrick Kearns, and Allison Daugherty), the play’s message never fully manages to land. The piece begins after George (Kearns, playing a guy Richard Linklater might recognize) takes a fall while trying to leap from one mesa to another while hiking. What ensues is a meditation between he and his friend, Aldie (a versatile Breaux), on George’s impending marriage. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, in a transition that can only follow a series of exclamation points. There’s an uncomfortable blackout, which, in this short play, feels like the work’s end. After lights up, Aldie tries to piece together the meaning of it all with the Mother of the Bride (Daugherty, who should’ve had more to do). Most of the interesting action was talked about, never shown, and the women relevant to this marriage felt pushed to the side. What was left was a talk-y play that prompted a gentleman sitting three people down to say, quite audibly, “It’s like watching paint dry.”

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