Written by Chiara Atik, Brett Epstein, Catya McMullen, Donaldo Prescod, Colin Waitt, Dan McCabe, and Jenny Morris
Directed by Brad Anderson, David Delany, Kristin McCarthy Parker, Michael Raine, Joel Soren, and Courtney Ulrich
Featuring William Barnet IV, Lydian Blossom, Madeleine Bundy Jessie Cannizzaro, Brett Epstein, Eric Folks Alex Haynes, Alex Herrald, Rory Kulz, Drew Lewis, Rachel Lin, Evan Maltby Andy Miller, Zac Moon Donaldo Prescod, Max Reinhardsen Ariana Siegel, Ryan Stinnett Olivia Stoker, and Mariette Strauss
Limitations can often be a writer’s best friend. Spearheaded by writer-performer Brett Epstein, the RULE OF 7 X 7 project forces its participants to, in effect, think inside the box. Each one of the participating seven playwrights is allowed to devise one rule. Once these are confirmed, all seven writers must stick to all seven of the rules. Rising to the challenges posed by quirky requisites like “a list of seven somethings”, the authors have come up with ingenious solutions that make for a lively, often touching, potpourri of bit-sized narratives.
Naturally, some of the stories feature topics that are foremost in the minds of millenials. CHRIS SULLIVAN GOES ON A DATE by Chiara Atik and DICK BLIZZARD by Catya McMullen, examine the vicissitudes of intimacy in the age of eHarmony and Tinder (an epoch sometimes called the “dating apocalypse”). “Representation” by Brett Epstein looks at early-career tribulations as two striving actors go through a soul-battering audition process.
Other pieces explore the odd byroads and backwaters of the American landscape. In BLACK PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS by Donaldo Prescod, a hitchhiker wonders if she’s just being racist, or if the Black guy at the wheel really is the cannibalistic mass murderer the police are looking for. And in Colin Waitt’s PILOT LIGHT three eccentric brothers deal with a family dilemma as only Minnesotans can. Other writers put an Absurdist spin on everyday situations: Dan McCabe holds a funhouse mirror to relationship inertia as chartered accountant Lloyd struggles to communicate with his beloved Sprinkles, who only speaks Clown-ese. Jenny Morris’s ON MY HONOR jumps back and forth in time as a motley group of former Girl Scouts mourn the death of one of their own.
This being a Best Of show, the quality of the work is uniformly strong. The actors are confident, well-rehearsed and skilled at blending farce with poignancy. The directors make adroit use of minimal materials to swiftly create the disparate narrative worlds of the different plays. Lightning quick scene changes help move the evening along smoothly, and at the ticket price of only $10 to $12 (including a free drink!) RULE OF 7 X 7 is a deal that can’t be beat.
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