I’m writing from the lovely little town of Wye Mills, Maryland, the site of the Eastern States’ Theater Association’s 2004 Theater Fest. After a rather hellish drive down (lost an hour to traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike), the very second that I pulled into the motel’s parking lot, my boss calls me on my cellphone. With the scramble to park, and dig the cell out of my bag, I literal miss it by a second. But, then, voice mail is easier to deal with than a real person with you are on vacation. Next Crisis: On one on the many panic stops I was forced to do in the stop & go traffic on the drive down, everything that was on the passenger’s seat flew onto the floor of the car. In the process, my glasses got lost (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses). Anyway, after about ten minutes of digging out in the car, I found them (They had gotten behind one of the floor mats) Checked into the motel, and went to the college where the festival was being held. Registered and took in the last few minute of a workshop (Did I mention I was an hour later? Hellish traffic on the Turnpike). Afterward met up with some of the other attendees, who, oddly seemed to be all from NJ (The NJ team was actually doing their tech-in, and these were their friends waiting for them.) Finally, the crew finished, & I met up with some of my friends, and we descended on a local seafood place for dinner — Racing through it to make the 7:40 start of the first show (they lock the doors once it starts, so no late-comers). Made it just in time.
The first production was “Art”, presented by a group from PA. Last year a group from NY did it. I guess it’s a festival perennial (it’s short enough that it needs minimal cuts to get it under the 1 hour time limit). On the whole, I didn’t particularly like this production. The man playing Serge (the guy who bought the painting) also directed it, and he was great — Very natural acting and perfect comic timing. However, the guy play Marc (the one who can’t stand the painting) seemed to be in a different play. He never seemed to play off the other actors, he just acted as if he was doing the whole thing as a monologue — Now, if he were doing a monologue, he would be great, but it didn’t work here. The man playing Yvan (um.. the other guy in the show), seemed alright – OK acting and good comic timing— but really needs to work on his diction — He swallowed about a third of his big monologue towards the end. And the set was kinda odd – no real funature pieces, just psuedo-furniture made out of boxes and painted pale colors (to mimic the white painting)
Well, that’s all for today — there’s a party going on downstairs……
Photos (Which I’ll update daily), are in the ESTAFest 2004 Gallery