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Last weekend's staged reading of Brooms: A Play About Saying Yes, presented June 26 and 27 as part of Manbites Dog Theater's Other Voices Series, could have been just four white chicks sitting around talking about the lack of a special someone (male or female) in each of their lives. Instead, Brooms was (and is) a boldly imaginative journey through the marriage fantasies and the ups and downs of romance among the twenty-somethings in the 21st century, with excessive romanticism, Pollyannaish idealism, and/or corrosive cynicism providing the biggest potholes on the Road to True Love.
The playwrights, Both Hands' co-founders and co-artistic directors Cheryl Chamblee and Tamara Kissane, choose an apt metaphor — a magic broom, plugged via telephone solicitation by Lance Waycaster a la Ronco's latest labor-saving device — for their mischievous musings on the difficulties of finding, meeting, and mating with Mr. or Ms. Right. Employing layered text in much the same manner as a musical score, Chamblee, Kissane, Beth Popelka, and Nicole Quenelle created a rib-tickling fugue on the proper use of the broom to locate a suitable mate and "jump the broom" with him or her; and voiceover specialist Lance Waycaster also provided hilarious further instructions, via telephone and a big blue mailbox, to each of the four women struggling to make her magic broom function properly.
Chamblee and Kissane are most passionate and expressive actresses, and Popelka and Quenelle provide some high-quality comic relief for this highly promising work-in-progress, which attracted a highly appreciative overflow audience to their scintillating June 27th performance at Manbites Dog Theater. Surely, a full-fledged production of Brooms — with a few rough spots smoothed out — will be a real crowd-pleaser.
Second Opinion: June 30th Independent Weekly review by Byron Woods: http://indyweek.com/durham/current/woods.html. [Note: Woods' review will be posted later this week.]
Brooms: A Play About Saying Yes: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/108/. Manbites Dog Theater: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.