Out of the Box – Unwrapped at Write Act Repertory

By Allyn Merrill

A scene from “Things That Go Bump in a Box” by Linda L. Rand, part of “Out of the Box,” an evening of short plays written by the members of At Rise: Playwrights.

Out of the Box – Unwrapped is an eclectic and fast-paced evening of one-acts and monologues, all written by members of At Rise: Playwrights and produced by Write Act Repertory. It runs weekends through July 28. Each piece represents the unique voice of its playwright.

The show begins appropriately with Boxed Up by Mari Falcone Cantos. Nicole Foti and Kevin Myers play an attractive young couple in the midst of moving to a new and smaller home. On a stage littered with packing boxes, they sort through their cherished belongings, trying to decide what to save and what to leave behind.  Both actors bring a sweet authenticity to their roles, with able directing by Ann L. Gibbs.

Things That Go Bump in a Box by Linda L. Rand throws four strangers together inside a malfunctioning elevator. Although the stage is bare except for a square of light, the actors bring the story to life. Vince Palmieri as a mature job seeker, Anthony Rutowicz as an entrepreneurial hippie, Jackie Marriott as a phone repair person, and Babbie Green as a neurotic woman with a constantly-opening umbrella, create a hilarious ensemble of quirky characters.    

Mark Anthony Williams reveals a charming ambivalence to the lure of a beautiful woman in Judith Allen’s insightful monologue, It’s a Guy Thing. It is followed by the evening’s wildest offering, Inseminating Evidence by Susan C. Hunter, deftly directed by Michael Eiden. Played as a Tennessee Williams-style spoof, a mother (performed with ferocious sensuality by Linda L. Rand), her dimwitted daughter (husky-voiced Georgia Ann Silva), and the youngest member of the family (Andrew McGee) each have a secret, humorously revealed by the arrival of the ubiquitous gentleman caller, played with gusto by Jonathan Harrison.

The second act begins with White Elephantland by Marina Palmier and directed with understated ebb and flow by Richard Pierce. Ashley McGee and Courtney Rackney play a good-natured, but frazzled writer and his actress wife who have been invited to a high-powered producer’s party and must make a good impression or be professionally ruined.

Rice Krispie Squares and NeHi Pop is written, directed, and performed with folksy southern humor by Ann L. Gibbs.

The final play of the evening is Miss Velma’s Class written and directed by Elayne Heilveil. Four women — ditzy Louise (Susan Bartells), rough-edged Joanne (Kathleen Cecchin), reluctant Gayle (Nancy Hendrickson), and happily married Trish (Kathlyn Miles) — gather at the studio of Miss Velma (commandingly portrayed by Sandra Tucker) to shed both their problems and their clothes.

Out of the Box – Unwrapped runs Thurs–Sat through July 28 at 8 p.m. at Write Act Repertory located at6128 Yucca St. inHollywood. Tickets are $18, with discounts for seniors and students. Free parking is available one block south of the theatre at6125 Carlos Ave. at St. Stephen’s Church. For reservations, call (323) 469-3113.