Review: WriteNOW! Festival of New Works – pivotal(arts)

By Sam Mooney

This is the 5th annual presentation of writeNOW! Festival of New Works by pivotal(arts). Sadly it’s also the last one.  The company has decided to focus on full length runs, good news for all of us who love theatre but sad at the same time.  We’ll miss writeNOW!. This was the first year that I went to see the shows. Definitely my loss, not going before this.

My companion tonight was fellow Mooney on Theatre writer Crystal Wood.  We didn’t plan it that way, we ran into each other at Bread and Circus. We saw two plays and loved them both. Crystal is going back to see the third play and she’ll write about it. There are three plays in the festival; Secretary, Love vs. Life vs. Art, and A Really Bad Play presents It Was Love at First Sight. Each night two of the plays are performed.  We saw A Really Bad Play presents It Was Love at First Sight and Secretary.

Daniel Stolfi - playwright
Daniel Stolfi

A Really Bad Play by Daniel Stolfi presents It Was Love at First Sight by Mark Tripps wins the prize for the longest title.  It’s a very funny play. We laughed for the entire 45 minutes.  My stomach was sore at the end.  Imagine missed cues, flubbed lines, wrong entries, confused sound effects, overly dramatic dialog and wild over-acting in a wonderfully written, directed and acted play and you’ll have some idea of what to expect.

The very talented Daniel Stolfi wrote and directed the play. The story really doesn’t matter.

“Imagine a world where theatre was left in the hands of the most awkward and untalented writer and director of all time.  His name?  Mark W. Tipps and this, is his masterpiece.  With terrible casting choices, a lack of stage presence, and an immense disregard for proper theatre technique, “A Really Bad Play” could quite possibly be the worst play that you will ever see! “

The audience loved it. Between plays I could hear people talking about how funny it was and then giving examples of the parts they liked and then laughing and laughing.  It was so much fun.

Jessica Rose
Jessica Rose

Secretary by Jessica Rose was also funny although in a different way, a comedy and tragedy at the same time. Jessica Rose – another very talented playwright –  wrote the play and played the part of Annie – the secretary in the title.

“As the private secretary to Mr. Green, Annie Miller knows she is very important. There is no task too big or small that she won’t accomplish dutifully and professionally—like any good secretary would! But with an increasing list of tasks and a constant stream of interruptions, Annie’s world spirals out of control. As she struggles to regain order along with her sense of self, some startling revelations alter her reality and force her to make a life altering choice. In this tragic and funny play about sex, lies, and office stationery, Annie discovers how important she is after all.”

The play felt like a fifties movie – a variation on a Doris Day Rock Hudson movie, one with sex and some actual meaning and was set in the fifties. Before the show I overheard Ms Rose saying to someone that her grandmother – who used to be a secretary – saw the show and said that it was exactly the way it was.

We both really enjoyed both plays.  Bread and Circus is an interesting theatre, very intimate. From the street you’d never know that there’s a theatre behind the bar.

The festival runs for the rest of the week and the tickets are about the price of a movie.  Go to writeNOW! instead of a movie.  You’ll be glad you did.


writeNOW! Festival of New Works is playing at Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave) until March 26, 2011
– Shows are at 7.30 and 8.30 with 2 plays each night – see the pivotal(arts) website for the full schedule
– Tickets are $12.00 per show or $20 for an evening of shows
– Tickets are available online and at the door.

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