Review By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Little Theatre is performing its fifth edition of “8×10,” an evening of eight short plays, about 10 minutes long each. The plays come mainly from local and regional playwrights.
These tasty morsels pack a lot of punch into a few short minutes. Watching one-acts is a bit like reading poetry vs. reading a novel. Every word has to count. This makes for some great dialogue when it works. Actors have to work hard to build empathy with the audience and flesh out their characters in a mere 10 minutes. Bravo to all those involved with this production for taking up this challenge!
One of my favorite things about watching “8×10” each year is getting to see some of my favorite actors, like Jody Shepard, John Gustafson, Pat Beck, Rose Corrigan, Patrick Web and so on, in roles they might not otherwise take up. I’ve always thought of Jody Shepard as a comic genius, now here she is in a drama, “More To Life Than Being Happy.” I got to see Pat Beck twice!
Another favorite thing is seeing actors I haven’t seen often or at all, like Stuart Rupprecht as Buddy in “Dog Story,” Jeannie Adkins as Mama in “Changing Ella,” Dan Shields as Darrell in “Night and Day” or Holly Robinson as Rosie in “Dog Story,” for starters.
Getting to see a play written by one of my favorite writers, Robert Benjamin, is a treat. Benjamin often deals with the theme of aging, and “Swerving,” his piece in this production is no exception. It’s funny, it’s touching and it’s wise.
It’s also a treat to see the work of playwrights new to me, or just plain new. I’ll be watching for future work by Gary Dontzig (“Time After Time” and “Dog Story”) and Alix Hudson (“Night and Day”)
Yet another thing to love about one acts is their ability to take on themes or situations that would not work as full length plays. Dontzig’s “Dog Story”, which is from the point of view of two dogs or his “Time After Time” about a loop between past and future are examples.
Characters can be a little more exaggerated, in fact they almost must be, to get the point across in 10 minutes. This is done to perfection in Hudson’s “Night and Day” where two sides of a love triangle couldn’t be more different.
“At the Convention” wasn’t performed Saturday. Maybe I’ll pop back in this weekend to catch it.
From moving “More To Life Than Being Happy” to kind of goofy, “Gringo Chief and “Changing Ella,” “8×10” truly has something for everybody. Go to “8×10” and pick your own favorites. I’ll bet they’re different from mine, which just proves my point.
“8×10 The Fifth Symphony” will be performed twice more at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit www.lalt.org for more information.