Friday, March 16, 2012

REVIEW: Vancouver Community Theater One-Act Festival

The Vancouver Community Theater (VCT) has a twenty year track record in Vancouver. The talented sister duo of Joyce Brown and Louise Clair have made a point of making the dramatic arts accessible to family audiences and budding theater amateurs alike. Their productions are simple and low budget, but have a genuine charm. This is certainly true of their 18th annual One-Act Festival. The festival runs this weekend and next and affords a chance to see some work you will likely not see elsewhere.

Dan Cox as Prof. Hammond and Regina Galbick as Anne Seagal in
"Forgotten Souls." Grace Skinner is not pictured.
Forgotten Souls

The evening begins with “Forgotten Souls” adapted nicely from a full-length play by Yiddish playwright David Pinksy and directed by Louise Clair. The romantic drama takes place in 1912 and has a little twist to it in the end.

“Forgotten Souls” features Regina Galbick as Anne Seagal, Grace Skinner as Beth Elrich and Dan Cox as Prof. Henry Hammond. While  Cox’s performance was a quite underplayed, he did move nicely as an injured hero. Galbick was the star of the evening—definitely one of the seasoned actors. She was, indeed, convincing and her performance touched the heart. Skinner’s part, while small, was nicely played.

Brian Davies as Ernest Doolittle, Jaclyn Mickelson as Kate Regan, Richard
Rothstein as Detective Fogarty and Carolle Davies as Eliizabeth Wilcox play
 in "The Tangled Web."
The Tangled Web

Second up was the not yet ready for public consumption presentation of “The Tangled Web” by Charles Stevens, directed by Clair. It was shaky from the get go with actors frequently halting, referring to the script close at hand and breaking character. Honestly, it just needed another week or two.

The story had potentially interesting characters, but was hard to follow due the clipped and halting pace. It could have possibly been great if the lines had been memorized and had it moved at the clip that such a comedy should.

Brian Davies played Ernest Doolittle, Jaclyn Mickelson played Kate Regan, Richard Rothstein played Police Detective Fogarty and Carolle Davis palyed Elizabeth Wilcox. The stand out performance was given by diamond in the rough Mickelson—who, while not quite off script was good with her dialogue (dialect) and emotional moments.

Dallas Garvey as Albert, Anya Kubineic as Serena, Macey Richert as
Annabella and Donna F. Weisser as the mother in "Females of Contrast."
Females of Contrast

The highlight of the evening was the original play “Females of Contrast” written by VCT’s Donna F. Weisser who also directed. It was a charming script even though it could use another ten minute to develop the romance that buds in the all too quickly wrapped up (too neatly) end.

The story contrasts well the snobbish, spoilt, rich girl Annabelle, played nicely by Macey Richart, with the humble and lovely servant girl Serena, played by Anya Kubineic. Kubineic’s role, although too small, was nicely performed; with talent she obviously has she deserved more.

The play also featured Donna F. Weisser (the director and playwright) as the mother and Dallas Garvey as Albert. Both did quite well, though Weisser’s performance needed a director to bring out what surely is there. (It is hard to direct and act in your own piece and she should not be slighted for not having that outside eye.)

The costumes and set dressing for “Females of Contrast” were superb. The other two plays were sparsely or under decorated (though the costumes were good); such is the nature of small budgets. After all, most local plays now run $12 or more and this is a steal at $7 or less. The lack of good theatrical lighting (hardware store floodlights were used) also hampered the productions a bit. 

The festival plays again today, Saturday March 17 and Friday and Saturday of next week. See below for location, show times, tickets and other information. The VCT is a small theater and I encourage you to show your support.

Story and Photographs by Gregory E. Zschomler

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