Playwrights: David Matthew Barnes ( Last Dance), John Minigan (A Monogamy of Swans), K.O. Johnson (A Place to Hide), Madolyn Whitmer (The Haunting of Camp Rod and Staff), Seth Freeman (The Authoress), Joe Gulla (Gayfever), Erik Champney (The Screens), and Tim Brennan (Contrition).
Company: Funky Little Theater Company
Venue: Funky Little Theater, 2109 Templeton Gap, Colorado Springs CO.
Running Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission)
Date of Performance: Friday, March 4, 2016. (Opening Night. All 8 plays are World Premieres.)
This is only Funky Little Theater’s second season, but somehow the small company has emerged out of a struggling Templeton Gap strip mall as a creative force that cannot be ignored. [Spectrum] LGBT New Play Festival (hereafter Spectrum), proves that, politics aside, the size of a theater company does NOT matter.
Funky’s Artistic Director, Chris Medina, had set his sights realistically low for Spectrum, hoping for as many as 30 submissions of short (10 minute) original scripts on an LGBT theme.
Imagine Medina’s surprise.
The scripts came pouring in…from Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, New York, California, as well as Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. By the deadline, 269 original scripts landed at Funky for Spectrum.
The end result is eight original, creative and engaging stories bursting off the Funky stage. They run the gamut from silly to historical and to the truly tragic. Funky’s Spectrum is a theatrical buffet served in scrumptious 10 minute bites.
A Monogamy of Swans, a drama by John Minigan, is set in Boston. Actors Haley Hunsaker and Kristen Gutzeit have suitable “Bahston” accents to transport us to the Boston Public Garden where the question is whether to feed the swans or kill them. Broken hearts, broken dreams and betrayal dominate this tense yet tender tale.
On the sillier side, Seth Freeman’s The Authoress is a gender bender. If a new play competition is for “women and those identifying as a woman,” men enter at their own risk. Dylan McClintock plays the straight guy with a competitive compulsion to obliterate gender lines. McClintock walks the line between a confident but daring heterosexual and a closeted but flamboyant transvestite. It’s fair to say tht McClintock is very funny in both of his wardrobes.
Comedies aside, however, Spectrum peaks with three 10 minute dramas that have the potential to develop into full length plays. The first of these, and perhaps the most striking, is A Place to Hide by K.O. Johnson. Based on a true story and set in a 1950s small Texas town, Johnson has combined the contemporary issues of race, sex, and police misbehavior into a breakout script. Melvin Greer, Danielle Trina, and Benji & Chris Dezaval act out Johnson’s script with honesty, fear, and compelling emotion.
Erik Champney’s The Screens is a tragic love story told in exquisite detail. Bryan Dufaud and Benji Dezaval are the tragic lovers. Dufaud is particularly striking; he’s institutionalized with dementia. Dezaval is his heartbroken lover and caregiver who has all but lost his partner.
Tim Brennan’s Contrition is the last of the eight scripts to play out on the Funky stage, and it is arguably the best. It’s a love triangle, with Christ Medina and Michelle Pantle competing for their common lover/husband/partner. Contrition is an emotional mashup, combining, love, hate and loss in what seemed like the quickest and most emotional 10 minutes for Spectrum.
Funky had an embarrassment of riches land on them for Spectrum. They made hard choices, leaving 261 scripts behind. The eight Spectrum scripts they selected are winners for both Funky and for their audiences. It was hard work, but the reading/rating crew did an outstanding job of picking extraordinary scripts.
Make no mistake about it. This Funky Fest Focuses on ALL our Families (the reference to a local "family" group is intentional), and celebrates them. This is a breakout production for the Funky folks.
There is some adult language and some adult content in Spectrum. Use discretion for preteens.
This show closes on March 19, 2016.
Photo Credit: Funky Little Theater Comany.
Directors: Delaney Hallauer (Last Dance), Luke Schoenemann (A Monogamy of Swans), Chris Medina (A Place to Hide and The Authoress), Dylan McClintock (The Haunting of Camp Rod and Staff and Contrition), Tracy Hunziker (Gayfever), Michelle Pantle (The Screens).
Scenic Design: Chris Medina
Sound Design: Chad Orr
Costume Design: Delaney Hallauer
Stage Managers: Emma Colligan & Chelsie Rigor
Kim Bennett (Contrition)
Josh Boehnke (Last Dance and Contrition)
Emma Colligan (The Haunting at Camp Rod and Staff)
Benji Dezaval (The Screens and A Place to Hide)
Bryan Dufaud (Last Dance and The Screens)
Nicole Goeke (The Authoress)
Nicole Goeke (The Authoress)
Eric Goering (The Haunting at Camp Rod and Staff)
Melvin Grier (A Place to Hide)
Kristin Gutzeit (A Monogamy of Swans)
Delaney Hallauer (Last Dance)
Haley Hunsaker (A Monogamy of Swans)
Dylan McClintock (The Authoress)
Teri McClintock (The Authoress and Contrition)
Chris Medina (Contrition and The Haunting at Camp Rod and Staff)
Michelle Pantle (Contrition)
Jessica Parnello (The Authoress)
Chelsie Rigor (The Haunting at Camp Rod and Staff)
Steve Sladoritz (Gayfever)
Will Sobilik (The Haunting at Camp Rod and Staff)
Danielle Thurman Trina (A Place to Hide)
[spectrum] reading and selection committee:
Krista Rayne Reckner