By Lucy Boyle, Ryan King, Matthew Paul Olmos, Liza Birkenmeier, Leah Nanako Winkler, Ngozi Anwanyu, and Dan Moyer; Directed by Sash Bischoff, Saheem Ali, Anne Cecelia Haney, Annie Tippe, John Giampietro, Candis C. Jones, and Jess Chayes
Produced by F*It Club
Off Off Broadway, Short Plays
Runs through 5.21.16
IRT Theater, 154 Christopher Street
by Shoshana Roberts on 5.13.16
The Spring Fling: Rebound.
BOTTOM LINE: F*It Club delivers, yet again, in their seventh annual Spring Fling, with the theme of "rebound" bringing in well-written short plays about old relationships, sex, new-found interests, and basketball.
With expectations of talented actors and clever writing, when I saw F*It Club's seventh annual Spring Fling opening night, it did not disappoint. This production is specifically called The Spring Fling: Rebound, and each of the short plays does indeed create its plot around that idea, though some of the playwrights utilize different meanings of the word "rebound."
What I found most wonderful throughout the evening was that, despite the varying interpretations and the extremely diverse writing and directing styles, the production as a whole feels like a cohesive unit. One contribution to this feeling is the clever choice to have Lucy Boyle's "The Quickest Way" perform their scenes as interludes between the rest. Another impactful decision is having actors perform in their colleagues' plays, with drastically different parts that showcase their range and serve as a visual reminder that the shows are all connected. Clever details are included on stage as well, such as the hanging lamps' shades being empty ice cream containers in between dangling wine bottles and tissue boxes. The production value is extremely impressive for such a small theatre.
There are definitely some groans during "The Quickest Way," with a character not understanding that the advice she is given—"To get over him, you have to get under someone else"—is not a literal suggestion. This is the transition play, but each "knee-slapper" and pun is done in the best possible way. Ryan King's "Antares Returning" is set on a spaceship, with three people returning home from three years of "service" for their nation. The silver spandex suits intially had me worried, but the actors and concept won me over quite quickly. "Alone in our Sex" by Matthew Paul Olmos introduced me to an idea that I had not given much thought to before: it looks at rebound sex as having our past lovers in the room with us. The depth of the idea really hits home with Anne Cecelia Haney's direction. Moving to and from the actors playing old lovers, Haney is able to give the actors wonderful tools to capture the audience.
In the hilarious "Indescribable Snack," not only does Liza Birkenmeier write in a reference to a tap-dance production of Hair, but she gives us the absolute pleasure of having her two actors perform a number from that genius idea. "Rodman," written by Leah Nanako Winkler, provides a nice break from relationship rebounds by presenting a father and daughter in a strained relationship; they only connect when they discuss basketball. Ngozi Anwanyu's "Robert and Lucy," a play with magic sprinkled throughout, also incorporates singing, guitar, intrigue, beauty, and a bit of welcome confusion. "All is Bright" by Dan Moyer closes the show with a breakup at a pizza shop during NYC's SantaCon. However, it's not the breakup that has us in stitches; it's the character sitting quietly at the next table, played by James B. Kennedy (whom I had the pleasure of seeing two years ago in the NYC Fringe Festival's Sousepaw: A Baseball Story).
Obviously the ideas and talent range here, but all in all, the night is a home run. Sitting in the IRT Theater for The Spring Fling: Rebound was the most pleasurable evening I could have imagined after a long day at work. F*It Club clearly displays IRT Theater's 3B Development Series in the best possible light as they score a three-pointer at the buzzer with their "rebound" theme. Corny humor, profound ideas, beautiful singing, hysterical plots, and quality direction all contribute to an oasis of happiness amidst all of the stress of life.
(The Spring Fling: Rebound plays at IRT Theater, 154 Christopher Street #3B, through May 21, 2016. The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. Performances are Wednesdays at 8; Thursdays at 8; Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 8; and Sundays at 2. Tickets are $18 and are available at irttheater.org.)
The Spring Fling: Rebound is by Lucy Boyle, Ryan King, Matthew Paul Olmos, Liza Birkenmeier, Leah Nanako Winkler, Ngozi Anwanyu, and Dan Moyer. Directed by Sash Bischoff, Saheem Ali, Anne Cecelia Haney, Annie Tippe, John Giampietro, Candis C. Jones, and Jess Chayes. Set Design is by Polina Minchuk. Lighting Design is by Chris Thielking. Sound Design is by Daniel Melnick. Costume Design is by Christina Wells Madison. Choreography is by Katie Rose McLaughlin. Stage Manager is Joey Mulica.
The cast is Noah Averbach-Katz, Megan Branch, Michael Braun, Jimmie JJ Jeter, Mara Kassin, James B. Kennedy, Emma Kikue, Vasthy Mompoint, Allyson Morgan, Jay Patterson, José Joaquín Pérez, Jenni Putney, Stacey Raymond, Erin Wilhelmi, and Max Woertendyke.