By Kevin Artigue, Stephanie Del Rosso, Krista Knight, Catya McMullen, Seth Moore, Gregore S. Moss, and Ariel Stess; Directed by Jaki Bradley, Matt Dickson, Anne Cecelia Haney, Jessi D.Hill, Benjamin Kamine, Jenna Worsham, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Produced by F*It Club
Off Off Broadway, New Plays
Runs through 5.8.16
IRT Theatre, 154 Christopher Street, 3rd Floor
by Stephen Kaplan on 5.2.16
Esteban Benito and Allyson Morgan in Bagel Meets Door in F*It Club's The Spring Fling: Crush.
BOTTOM LINE: F*It Club continues their winning streak of presenting six new thematically-linked short plays.
F*It Club’s The Spring Fling continues its yearly tradition of presenting six brand-spanking-new short plays revolving around a common theme. This year’s batch, featuring works by Krista Knight, Stephanie Del Rosso, Ariel Stess, Seth Moore, Kevin Artigue, Catya McMullen and Gregory S. Moss all tell stories fitting the evening’s subtitle: Crush.
The first piece of the evening, Del Rosso’s He Lights Me Up, features Claire Rothrock exploring her own reaction, and that of those around her, to the surprising object of her newfound crush.
Stess’ You Were Crushed takes place in a therapist’s office where a patient (Eliza Bent) and her therapist (Elena McGhee) are visited by a series of men (all played by Adam Blodgett) who have influenced their lives.
Moore’s A Conversation I Never Had plays with time and memory in surprising ways as Max (Rory Kulz) rewinds and plays back the evolution of his relationship with Sima (Sade Namei), seemingly trying to make sense of it all. Sharply directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, the piece never reveals the true nature of the relationship, but effortlessly evokes a stinging sense of loss and confusion.
Artigue’s Bagel Meets Door features Esteban Benito and Allyson Morgan as a couple who meet on the internet and are on their first date. However, the date takes place with the pair on opposite sides of a locked front door and Morgan’s character touchingly reveals her insecurities about taking the next step.
McMullen’s The Epic Life of Sam Wheeler includes some of the evening’s most solid performances as two seemingly disconnected scenes play out—both dealing with the question of how to fully live one’s life. Director Jenna Worsham keeps both stories clear and divides the stage in half with the mountain-climbing Sam and Toby (Ugo Chukwu and Rory Kulz) on one side, and Jamie and Jeb (Mikaela Feely-Lehmann and Nick Lawson) on their first date on the other side.
Moss’ Crush ends the evening with a large portion of the cast returning to the stage for a single’s matchmaking event. Jill Frutkin is featured as Kristen, a shy and awkward woman longing to connect with someone in a self-involved and distracted world.
In addition to the six featured pieces, the evening begins with Knight’s Behind the Wall, which continues as a recurring book-end for each of the pieces and highlights a gung-ho Ben Beckley as a cockroach-cum-performance artist with an infatuation for his human co-inhabitant.
As with any evening of short plays, some are more successful than others, but all share strong performances and production values (a special mention is necessary for Daniel Melnick’s evocative sound design) and each writer approaches the theme with their own unique and often hilarious or heart-breaking (and sometimes both) perspective.
(The Spring Fling: Crush plays at IRT Theater at 154 Christopher St through May 8, 2016. The running time is 90 minutes without an intermission. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8; Sundays at 2. Tickets are $18 and are available at brownpapertickets.com)
The Spring Fling: Crush is by Kevin Artigue, Stephanie Del Rosso, Krista Knight, Catya McMullen, Seth Moore, Gregore S. Moss, and Ariel Stess. Directed by Jaki Bradley, Matt Dickson, Anne Cecelia Haney, Jessi D.Hill, Benjamin Kamine, Jenna Worsham, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh. Scenic/Prop Design is by Polina Minchuk. Lighting Design is by Cody Richardson. Costume Design is by Christina Wells Madison. Sound Design is by Daniel Melnick. Stage Manager is Joseph Mulica.
The cast is Ben Beckley, Eliza Bent, Adam Blodgett, Esteban Benito, Tom Bozell, Ugo Chukwu, Mikaela Feely-Lehmann, Jill Frutkin, Mara Kassin, Rory Kulz, Nick Lawson, Drew Ledbetter, Elena McGhee, Nina Mehta, Allyson Morgan, Sade Namei, and Claire Rothrock.