I had the pleasure of attending “A thin line between love and hate” and let me say it was one of the diverse showcases that I had attended. Originally when I selected to see it I in my mind thought it had everything to do with the movie featuring Martin Lawrence about a man who was trying to get out of the trenches of a love interest who wouldn’t take no for an answer. However,this showcase was named after the Persuader’s song.
In full transparency I was taken back when I realized it wasn’t what I had expected but I will say some “mistakes” are worth creating. 7, 10-minute plays as Philadelphia Dramatists entered their 2nd Philly Theatre week. This ‘mistake’ on my part led me to find artists I probably wouldn’t have encountered. The showcase was at the Rotunda of which was my first time there although I had walked past it many times before. My first impression after almost getting lost was the staff. I looked extremely flustered and right off the bat I was put to ease. I like to sit as close to the front as possible and I was glad that I was still able to do so. One of the things that I learned and absolutely loved was that the Philadelphia Dramatist Group is a community of individual playwright that collaborate to form new plays. This is truly necessary because I remember growing up with my mom who did a lot in the theatre work and often times not being able to do your own thing and have support was one of the messages I heard often when we would have to sit or often times participate.
There is always a need for open space for work that is different and valuable and knowing that Philadelphia Dramatists offers that space for actors and actresses to fine tune their craft is blessing. With that being said let me also encourage anyone who is reading to pay attention and support the arts by attending shows, word of mouth on how great a show is or how an organization is doing, and support your artist friends behind the scenes in all that they do as it is a labor of love. So here I will break down each of the plays that were demonstrated during the showcase:
It was produced by Caitlin Cieri and directed by Mark Knight. I loved that each play was about 10 minutes and, they could have been a little longer. I loved how interactive everyone was during the 10-minute productions as well. Each one’s theme played along the lines of course what its like to be in love or to go mad with hate. People don’t realize how thin the line really is. If you have ever loved someone and gotten into anything with a loved, hate sometimes isn’t that far behind in emotion. Each production for 10 minutes gave you the meat and potatoes of each problem and an attempted to solve or shed light on the issue. I smiled the entire time. Not one time did I feel the message was jumbled or that the actors/actresses had missed their mark.
The plays were:
Walking the Dog After Midnight by Rosemary Parrillo
The British American Civil War and how it precipitated the destruction of the British Empire by Simon Bane
Clean Break by Alex Dremann
Furious George by Alex Wilkie (this was my favorite one I might be biased with the sock monkey)
Siblings by David Hodges
Eiffel Tower by Albert Fried-Cassorla
Former Hoarder by Nickolette Jones
Let me say these productions had the most interesting of props I had ever seen but as different as they were, they were necessary in each of the productions. Yes, even the sock monkey of which when I saw the layout of props, I had immediate questions. I would have to say I would hand down give all the actors and actresses the award for most creativity. In other productions people pay attention to things making so much sense they can’t step out of the box. I have learned from my mother that the most engaging actor or actresses uses what’s around and if you can’t step out of the box to tell a story, do you really have a story to tell?
Each production pulling on each facade of relationship. From a husband leaving his wife for a man who happens to be his wife’s hair dresser to helping a loved one in the midst of a hoarding episode and that tug of war to help and not hinder-the showcase had it all!
A few things that Philadelphia Dramatists Center does that others don’t:
They kept the audience engaged by having them play almost a visual scavenger hunt.
They had a raffle that allowed one lucky winner to win half the winnings-let’s face it people love to win or at least try to win something and it’s a great way to raise money too
They allowed for one winner-not necessarily the same winner of the raffle the chance to win an annual membership and tickets for the 2021 showcase.
Instead of bombarding you with emails they asked you which if any listing you wanting to be apart and let me say for someone who gets a fair share of emails this was refreshing.
They listed their upcoming events regardless if they were productions or not like their playwright’s happy hour.
Lastly, they are for the community and about the community and are always seeking those artists etc. willing or wanting to be about their podcasts which means giving others the opportunity to be apart and having several streams of activities happening at the same time-genius!
Overall, I think I would have loved to see more but I understand the nature of the evening was a showcase. With it being in a showcase format I loved the diversity that the productions brought. I was able to see range and again the love that each actor/actress brought into each. As serious as some of the topics were humor is something that binds us all and that was seen. The entire staff was hands on nice. They were all warm. That matters. I have been to a few productions not recently of course but a few that don’t even smile at you let alone are helpful. I have my eyes on a few of the actors as I want to see what they can do in the coming years. I hope that Philadelphia Dramatist Center will have me back so I can get a better look at what they have to offer. Of my years doing reviews this mistake in title has brought the best night of the Philadelphia Theatre Week.