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    Heard (But Not Scene)

    "Heard" mentality

    The two short plays in "Heard (but not Scene)" include a mostly-breezy comedy that takes place on an answering machine, and a more serious if enigmatic piece about life, death, coincidence, and why you should get yourself a donor card.


    The second work in "Heard (but not Scene)" is the kind of nonlinear play that might fill you with dread as it begins to unfold. It starts with five characters making disconnected statements that, lacking context at first, seem like utter nonsense. Sometimes this kind of play will just lose itself in a knotted tangle of plot threads, and we'll stumble out after an hour and a half of avant-garde gibberish saying, "What was that?" (Unless we're friends of the cast, in which case we hang around afterwards and say, "It was, uh, powerful.") Other times, the threads of dialogue gradually weave themselves together and it's a thing of beauty. This is one of those times.

    Written by: Marc Chun.
    Directed by: Steven Gridley.
    Includes individual plays: "Beep" by Mark Chun; "Match" by Mark Chun
    Cast: Stephen Douglas Wood, Jessica Calvello, James Mack, Erin Treadway, Andres Munar.
    With the voices of: Brandon Bales, Steven Gridley, Lev Pakman, Benjamin Pakman, Doug Simpson, Paul Anthony Stewart, Michael Tedeschi, Christopher Yustin, Karen Allen, Kimmarie Lynch, Janette Martinez, Vivian Meisner, Courtney Munch.
    The Red Room
    85 East 4th St. near 2nd Ave.
    Sept. 2-24, 2002

    The short play, called "Match," starts with a blond man (James Mack) dressed all in blue talking dreamily about the color blue with what we later discover is a painter's eye. "The sky was that blue, he says. I will just call it that blue because I guess you really only name the things youre afraid you might forget."

    Soon, a blonde woman (Jessica Calvello) comes on stage — to, I would emphasize, no applause whatsoever — and bows, saying, with a veneer of false modesty, "Thank you, thank you. Oh, you're too kind." It's quite a funny moment, actually, but why she would be acknowledging all this nonextistent applause is something we'll only discover as the play progresses. Meanwhile, most cryptically of all, there's a man in a tie (Stephen Douglas Wood), leaning in to a microphone and testifying in court about the Fibonacci series.

    This turns into a story about fame, illness, coincidence, charity, morality and deceit that makes more and more sense as it goes along — even the part about the Fibonacci numbers. And I would hope that it would leave audience members with not only a satisfied feeling but also a sense of urgency about one of its recurring themes, the need for organ and marrow donors. Not a typical subject for a play, true, but one worth your attention.

    The first short play, "Beep," is overshadowed by the second but it's also a pleasure. A youngish man, Abe, comes home from vacation, makes a quick call and then hits the "play" button on his answering machine, which is where most of the story unfolds. It's clever, funny, and touching in places, and actor Stephen Douglas Wood and director Steven Gridley make it work surprisingly well on stage.

    SEPTEMBER 11, 2002

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