REHOBOTH'S brand-new First Street Stage is the project of a band of young actors who decided to build themselves a place to perform, a block from the beach. The troupe has chosen to debut with an odd and amusing double bill of one-act, two- character comedies, George Bernard Shaw's "Village Wooing" and Lanford Wilson's 1976 "Ikke Ikke Nye Nye Nye."
Though there remain some technical bugs to be worked out, these two brief pieces about the strained and often strange relations between the sexes benefit from economical settings and delightful performances by Ellen Zider, who shows herself a natural comic actress.
In "Village Wooing," Zider plays a vacationing provincial shopgirl, a shipboard coquette trying to entice a xenophobic writer of travel guidebooks into conversation, and another of Shaw's strategic games between male and female ensues. Zider's efforts are somewhat hindered by the overdone acting of Ralph Conti, who works too hard at being starchy and plays Shaw like Terry-Thomas. Neither actor has a fix on the accents, which wander all over the Continent.
Wilson's "Ikke" is a goofy and slightly disturbing set piece about urban alienation. A sexually repressed phone operator brings a mailboy home, unaware that he's a telephone fetishist interested only in her voice. Conti fares much better here as the weirdo date, playing him as the quintessential nerd. Director David E. Lillard has energetically staged the piece, which includes a comical strobe-lit frug involving an oversized telephone receiver.
The theater comfortably seats about 60 people on a raked and elevated platform. First Street Stage has a way to go in polish, but its fledgling efforts are a refreshing evening alternative at the beach.
VILLAGE WOOING & IKKE IKKE NYE NYE NYE -- At First Street Stage, 28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth, Del. Call 302/227-7011.