from Las Vegas Review-Journal - Friday, March 10, 2010

THEATER CHAT: Play program invites all who want to act, write, observe

For those who like to do theater but don't have the time, "No Shame" may have a solution.

You arrive on a Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at the Insurgo Theater. If you want to act, you get a script. If you're a writer, you give actors copies of your play, and one to the tech people. An hour later, the first 15 registered acts go on. Everyone pays $5 -- actors, writers, and observers.

There are some ground rules: Everything's unrehearsed (except for that hour of prep time), nothing exceeds five minutes and everything must be original. ("If your play is by Neil Simon," organizer Troy Heard said, "then you better be Neil Simon.")

The program was the brainchild of playwright Jeff Goode, known in theater circles for his "Poona the (Expletive)dog and Other Plays For Children," and has spread to several cities across the country. "(When it comes to the plays) it seems like every city has its own flavor," Goode said after attending last week.

The flavor I sensed was intense, comic and sometimes emotionally naked. I had my suspicions that some of the material last week had indeed been carefully rehearsed, but then I thought, who cares? It all made for a low-key exciting evening. Interesting too that I don't recall having seen any of the actors who performed last week on the local stage. Where have they been hiding? Heard's project might be a godsend not just for frustrated writers and actors but for casting directors as well. I hope the performers have their resumes updated and available.

You can find the "playlettes" (mime, drama, comedy, poetry) at 900 E. Karen Ave., No. D114, in the New Orleans Square section of the Commercial Center.

The hit off-Broadway musical "Altar Boyz" that opened in early February at the Onyx Theater for an open-ended run is already no more. Owner Mike Morse was hoping the show would run "forever" alongside his current "Naked Boys Singing." But it was not to be.

"The first two weeks we had small audiences," he says. "I don't think the people behind the show really knew how to sell it."

Morse decided to pull the plug on the third week, and it seemed once the closing was determined, the crowds began to come.

"That makes me think maybe there is a market for the show, but we just didn't tap into the crowd. We're going to be making a decision soon about whether or not to bring it back."

I hope they do. I found the production an audience-friendly bit of entertaining nonsense, full of magnetic performers.

Morse is still hard at work trying to attract tourists to his venue (as he apparently has with "Naked Boys Singing"). Recently, he premiered a thing called "The Silence of the Clams," which suggests Morse is open to just about anything.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas NV 89125.

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