Power Plays

by Alan Arkin & Elaine May

Director Lynna Goldhar Smith

Dates 2-18 November 2006 @ 20.00h Venue Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Dr., Vancouver)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Power Plays consisting of Virtual Reality by Alan Arkin, The Way of All Fish and In and Out of the Light by Elaine May are one-act comedies exploring the exasperating human struggles and reversals of power that occur in any kind of relationship. Last year, Bill and Liz Iversen out of "a passion for acting" (Liz, I'm sure) formed Aumentare (sp. & it. meaning "growing, increasing") in 2005 with their first production, D.R. Andersen's Crazy and a Half directed by Goldhar Smith, the same director of this production.It was a success, and so, they've decided to put three more shows for 2006-07 season: Power Plays, Death Defying Acts by David Mamet, Woody Allen and Elaine May (April 2007) and New Voices Project (October 2007). These are all one acts (or a combination) and the authors are all famous.

Now, to the task at hand. These actors are good and did justice to these noire comedies. What convinced me that they're good is their flexibility, which all good actors have. Liz Iversen as the shrewd and controlling businesswoman in Way All Fish changed her character completely as the ex-stripper Sue Delamar in Act Two's In and Out of the Light. So did Ginger Berglund as the fantasizing, cold-blooded, murderess in Way All Fish and an exact opposite as the wacky psychiatrist in In and Out of the Light. Kasper Michaels was also superb as the hard hat Lefty in Virtual Reality and a completely different character as the Jewish dentist, Dr. Kessleman, in In and Out of the Light. Juan Riedinger was also good as De Recha, but he should try to articulate more. Guy Christie asHarry, the gay son of Dr. Kessleman, was funny.

I'm happy about all these new companies sprouting in Vancouver. Ten years ago, when I started this webzine, I remember reviewing for only a few theatre companies--The Playhouse, The Arts Club, Firehall, Pacific, and community theatres like Metro, White Rock and Langley Players. After 10 years, companies have quadrupled, and the Arts is thriving, healthy and alive in Vancouver.These small theatre companies have blossomed most probably after their initial success in the yearly Vancouver Fringe Festival, and I'm happy that as more and more theatre is coming alive in Vancouver.

© 2006 Ed Farolan