Last night Jeff and I saw Time Steps, the 11th annual Out of Ink festival from Austin Script Works, at the Blue Theater. It was a series of 8 plays written over a retreat weekend that were to conform to the following 3 rules:
The play must go backward, from beginning to end
Include a sudden dance break that causes a shift in the action
Include three things your mother told you not to do
All in all it was a very enjoyable experience. There was a good mix of drama, suspense, and comedy. Supposedly they were 10 minute plays, but that only accounts for 80 minutes plus a ten minute intermission, and we were there for almost two hours so I think one or two may have run a little longer.
Out of the whole lot there was only one play that I didn't really enjoy. It was okay, and Jeff liked it much more than I did, but I couldn't get into it. I'm not going to name it because I have nothing constructive to say about it and I don't want to put down any of the hard work that went into it. Instead I'll tell you what I felt were some major highlights of the night.
My favorite drama piece of the night was Where the Sidewalk Ends by Meg Haley. It was a really compelling story, and if you need a girl to cry in your next play you should check out Kathleen Fletcher, because that was hard to watch. She was also good when she wasn't crying; I'm just saying that girl can turn on the sorrow.
My favorite character of the night was Bernard, played by David Gallagher in Bernard Henry's Magic Tricks by Aimee Gonzalez. He was funny and charming and so much fun to cheer on. He reminded us a lot of the character Andrew from the Buffy tv series. Kind of a goofy innocence about him that ends up causing quite a bit of trouble, but despite it all you still like him and are routing for him.
My favorite dance of the night was done by Kelli Bland in Dancing Counts by Susan McMath Platt. I've never in my life seen someone in a cow suit perform such a great dance routine. Nicole Marosis as Aunt Charlotte provided a great backdrop and counter point to the wild cow dance that was happening across the rest of the stage. It was hysterical.
Finally my favorite monologue, by a huge margin, was in Hungry Love by Timothy Thomas. I've always loved the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V and in my mind I always see it as done by Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 film version. Tim takes that speech and tweaks it to become a St Valentine's Day speech instead, but still with the same sound, mood, and fervor of the original. Zeb L. West did an awesome job delivering the speech and rallying the troops with his call to arms as he climbed in and out of the audience. It was full of win.
Jeff and I had a good time, and I recommend you go check it out. Time Steps only runs two weekends though so don't wait too long.