A haunted harbinger of Halloween took place for the third week on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village last weekend as the 12th Annual Players Theatre Short Play Festival Boo! came to a close with five new original short plays.
This weekend’s audience favorite was “Escape from Margaritaville”, written by Maeve Kelley Baker and directed by Sophie Ferrin.
“Escape from Margaritaville” starts in a tropical paradise as happy vacationers sip margaritas and twirl umbrellas. After noticing and then dismissing that for some reason the Margaritaville clock has stopped ticking, Margie (Lee Simes) and Jeff (Brett Miller) are just about to start on their margaritas when Bobby (Cavon Hendron), another patron, warns them not to drink the margaritas. Soon Margie and Brett learn that they are among other trapped souls in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and that they can’t drink the margaritas and must leave before 5pm or they will be trapped there forever. Margie and Jeff make a run for the exit, but patrons (Catherine Luckenbach, Michelle Zink-Munoz, Abigayle Leluttrell) pelt them with lava lava shrimp to slow them down, and Jeff confesses that he’d had a sip of margarita before he knew the danger… This hilariously campy spin on trapped souls was not to be missed!
“Escape from Margaritaville” was joined by four other macabre plays.
“The Kindness of Strangers”, written by Kathryn Loggins and directed by Justin Goldstein, begins with method actress Charity Malden (Kathryn Loggins) preparing for “A Streetcar Named Desire” rehearsal with Wallace “Panda” Pantaressi (Riley Fee). Wallace isn’t a serious actor, and Charity quickly grows frustrated with him, until she finally guides him into getting into character. Unfortunately, Charity thinks the “real” Blanche Dubois from the play is a part of her and intends to dull out the ultimate punishment to Wallace for the crimes of his character.
“Stupid Smart House”, written by Richard Lyons Conlon and directed by Mia Anderson, begins with teens Delia (Olivia White), Gavin (Giorgio Jozef Varipapa), and Emily (Carla Burbano) showing up to Delia’s parent’s “smart house” to hang out after their classmate Jeffrey’s funeral. It is soon revealed that Delia and Gavin have been relentlessly bullying Jeffrey, while Emily stood idly by. Suddenly, the group begins getting threatening texts from someone claiming to be Jeffrey, telling them to confess. The smart house begins to go on the fritz, and the group attempts a lame apology on social media in an attempt to stop the house from killing them…
“The Red Men,” written by Jackson Montana and directed by Catherine Gold, features lonely woman Kate (Eliza Vaan) who believes herself to be in space. Mary (Miranda Plant), her psychiatric physician’s assistant, speaks to her through the door of a room she is locked herself in. Kate believes she can here “Red Men” talking to her through the walls. This psychological thinker piece strikes a note of eeriness while making the viewer wonder at the fine line between sanity and insanity.
“Monstrous Villiany,” by Rex McGregor, opens at an acting camp with Riley (Maille-Rose Smith) decked in sunglasses and headscarf, reading. Carmela (Jackie Luke/Lillie Gordon) arrives as her roommate, and the two square off as to who is going to get the lead role in a monster movie the camp is making. Carmela finally reveals that she is a vampire and seems to have the upper hand…until Riley reveals that she is a gorgon and turns Carmela to stone.
The Players Theatre SPF 2023 Short Play and Musical Festival returns in February 2024 with its LUV festival. Playwrights are encouraged to submit their original short plays based on the theme of love to www.ShortPlayNYC/Submit by November 25. The festival takes place at The Players Theatre: 115 MacDougal Street, NYC, 3rd Floor.