Unpretentious theater. Humble and hardworking actors. It is a pleasure to see a Twin Beach Players production.
Without a permanent stage to call home in the Twin Beach area, the Players' performances take on an element of surprise from each new venue.
This weekend they perform "An October Night of One Acts," a 90-minute, mostly comedic series pulled together and directed by Jeff Larsen and performed in the Education Building at the Union Church of North Beach.
Actors double as set movers, ticket sellers, lighting technicians and producers.
The program lists Helenmary Ball, president of Twin Beach Players, as being responsible for costumes, but she said that the actors provided their own and that she can only take credit for one actress's phony pregnant stomach.
Larsen, who had a small part as a waiter in the first act on the program, began the show by saying that the one-act plays have been performed at college campuses across the country and have been honored with numerous awards. He said the acts he has assembled are "out of the ordinary, quirky to offbeat and downright bizarre."
About the only thing ordinary about the show is the simple set, one motionless tree.
"The Business Lunch," by Sean Slater, introduces Jason Noell to the Twin Beach Players stage for the first time. He plays Jerry, a young man meeting his boss for buffalo sandwiches.
Noell's previous roles include one in a stage adaptation of "Twelve Angry Men," and his skill is evident in this performance. His Air Force service helps in this role, which requires respect toward his boss, Mr. Baxter, played by Tom Wines.
Jennie Ramey and Jeff Vargo take the stage together for the sixth time in "You Can't Get Uptown on the Downtown Train," by Vanda. In the play, a woman, Kate, is attacked on a deserted subway platform a robber. Ramey and Vargo fit well as Kate and the robber. The synopsis claims the robber is strange, but Kate seems to be the one with a peculiar attraction to guns.
"White Pages," by Jonathan Dorf has the largest cast and includes four new performers. Alice Darling plays Nancy, a bookstore owner with the kind of efficiency you might wish was more common until you see what she and her nephew Toto, played by Josh Cosman, are doing with the merchandise. Phil Cosman, Josh's father, plays a frustrated customer named Robert who cannot seem to get past the missing text in the books he buys from Nancy and Toto. Josh Glines, producer Kay Hart and veteran Stephanie Zanelotti play satisfied customers.
"Hardstuff," by Jules Tasca, brings new performer Rex Newton together with veteran Kim Hart. Newton plays Pinky, the best friend of John (Hart), who is having an affair with John's wife. Given that the two men are on a hunting and drinking trip, you can probably guess what might happen.
"Disturbed," by Brad Boesen, shows Bob and Daphne meeting in a hospital nursery area and leaves the audience wondering who might be more troubled: Bob, played by Luke Woods, or Daphne, played by Marianne Rude. A purse scene between the two calls to mind Rude's earlier Twin Beach performance in Neil Simon's "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers." They both are superb.
The Twin Beach Players present "An October Night of One Acts" tomorrow through Sunday. Shows are 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, with a matinee at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 at the door. Union Church of North Beach Education Building, 8912 Chesapeake Beach Ave. in North Beach (next door to Town Hall). For more information visit www.twinbeachplayers.org.