Night Rides comprised a proficient production of five new one-acts by various playwrights, produced by a group at Hunter College Graduate Theater dedicated to presenting new works.
The first play, David Marrero's Glass Highways, starred Josh Berresford and Jerry Chapa. It dealt with a pair of brothers trying to get their truck to run in a snowstorm. It was about how fantasy is sometimes different from reality. The play was mostly lackluster but had a few moving moments.
Next was a short play by Dan Shore called Travel, starring Reena Shah and Ethan Perry. This was the funniest of the plays performed during the evening. Pleasantly silly, it followed a secretary's mistake and the nerd who saves her career.
Third was an intriguing and bizarre short play written by Ed Valentine called The Raving, starring Emil G. Keller and Jesse May. Desire and sickness were explored psychologically by following an insane, hallucinating Edgar Allan Poe during the night he wrote his famous poem, "The Raven." It was a surreal experience to watch, and the actors in this section stood out as very talented.
Following intermission the next mini-play was Kathleen Warnock's Not at Home, starring Mara Schwartz and James Starace. A daughter confronts her father about deserting her. This play was touching at times, but felt a little forced -- like it was trying too hard to tell the audience facts, instead of showing them.
The final play of the evening, Tina Howe's The Divine Fallacy, starred Mark Irish and Susan Barnes Walker. In the play, a sister of a model comes to have her picture taken for her new book cover. She has stigmata, which implies she is Jesus Christ, which was a little hard for an atheist in the audience to stomach.
Peter Bloch's direction of the plays let his actors evolve into their roles. The staging, pacing, and energy were consistently good throughout. The sets were intricate and complex, making the scene changes last endlessly.
As a whole, there was a good variety of themes explored even if the execution itself varied.
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Copyright 2004 Seth Bisen-Hersh