By KAREN SHADE World Scene Writer 1/21/2007
50 Swats brings more miniplays to the Nightingale stage
The group that writes together explains together, and the 50 Swats Collective practically takes on its own identity when it comes to exploring a favorite topic.
"Humans" is the production from the group of Nightingale Theater regulars set to play on that venue’s stage beginning with a special preview on Thursday night. It will run for three weekends.
But the writers — John and Sara Cruncleton, Jeff and Amber Whitlatch, Joseph Gomez and Amy Wilson — of this series of character sketches want to come across as, well, human, John Cruncleton said.
"Hive" also works for the swarm that brings plenty of "Old-Fashioned Poison Candy" every October to an audience ready to gorge on an assortment of miniplays and monologues.
Some pieces are quiet and studied.
Others just exist, loud and unfettered from reason.
Turning their attention to "Humans" should provide the writers more than enough fodder for miniature theatrics.
Together, the writers answered a few questions about their show:
Q. Is this a comedy, drama or something else?
A. "This is something else. Maybe that should be our title. Like most of our shows, the traditional labels just don’t quite fit.
We’re a beautiful hybrid and troubling mutation. Let’s call it a signature Nightingale flower — always an odd sight in this soil."
Q. Where did the idea for this show begin?
A. "Out of a strong desire to pay the rent. Just kidding — we’re rich! The hive of swats began generating new material as soon as we closed "Old- Fashioned Poison Candy." But we’ve wanted to do a stripped down, small cast show for a long time. And the challenge of writing in the monologue format was compelling.
"The monologue is the most rigorously demanding of theatrical forms, because it is so restricted. To create dramatic action out of one voice is a supreme challenge.
"This is not a show where characters stand in a spotlight and talk about ‘how they feel.’ Rather, we tried to concentrate the essence of good drama into one voice, one moment."
Q. The show is made up of several pieces about individual characters. Who are these characters, and how are they portrayed?
A. "They run the gamut — outlaws, lunatics, kids, preachers’ wives, mothers, buzzards, clowns. They are portraits in action — idiosyncratic microcosms of humanity in all it’s squalor and splendor."
Q. Is this similar to the old English morality play "Everyman" in which certain characters are the embodiment of human vice?
A. "Not really. We tread on some of the same territory, since vices are a dramatic aspect of man’s nature, but we have not limited ourselves to that."
This small group of humans hopes to make "Humans" a regular feature to its line-up.
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 1-3 and Feb. 8-10
Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.
$8 regular nights, $5 for Thursday’s special preview. For reservations and tickets, call 633-8666 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show is for a mature audience.