A Night of Short Plays REVIEW

By Flora Lynn Isaacson
Special to The Black Hour

PEN OAKLAND is a Bay Area Chapter of the International Organization of Poets, Essayists and Novelists. They are sponsored by PEN USA, the Clorox Company Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the West Oakland Senior Center and The Berkeley Daily Planet.

If you go:
Thurs. & Fri., Thursday Sept. 17
Friday, Sept. 18
Show starts at 8 PM
(doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Live Oak Theatre
1301 Shattuck Ave
(at Berryman)

$7 - $10 Sliding Scale
Tickets may be purchased at the door.

PEN OAKLAND is an inter-racial group of about 20 people. They have put together a program of three plays that were performed Sunday, September 13 at 4 p.m.

The first play, "The Boy, the Girl and the Piece of Chocolate" was by Jack Foley and directed by Lewis Campbell, the Drama Director at Performing Arts High School in San Francisco. This 2-character play examines how one piece of chocolate can portray an entire relationship as the characters battle over who will eat the last piece. The cast of characters includes the Boy played by Fabian Herd and the Girl played by Margery Bailey.

This is a good short little comedy well directed by Lewis Campbell. The actors both have good variety and a sense of comic timing.

They each end the play with a short poem. The Boy presents "Truly I Have Lost Weight, The Skeletal Event of Primality" and the Girl presents "Who Do We Fall In Love With If Not Ourselves."

John Africa (Charles DuBois) speaks to members of the revolutionary organization, MOVE, written by Doug Howerton, directed by Michael Lange.

The second play, "Firing Blanks At Moving Targets" was written by Doug Howerton and directed by Michael Lange, a faculty member at San Jose State University. This play follows the group "Move" in the 1970s in its opposition to the technological age and the cruelty of animals through inhumane procedures.

John Africa, a revolutionary leader, played with revolutionary zeal by Charles Du Bios, and his revolutionaries (Move) take on Liberty and Justice with teachings from the radical anti-technology manifesto "The Book." [Brother]Reggie James gives a strong performance as Daniel Cramel, a poet peacenik with his rendition of [Separation]"A Crack In the Liberty Bell."

Caonabo (Tony Rocha), Anacaona (Diana Tenes) and Hautey (Elaine Pinto) are cast members in 'The Trial of Christopher Columbus" by John Curl, directed by Kim McMillon.

The final play of this performance was "The Trial of Christopher Columbus" by John Curl and directed by Kim McMillon, set in Columbus' dungeon cell. The play examines the explorer's misdeeds towards the Native American population, and recreates the events that took place in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and Dominican Republic) between the years 1492-1500.

This historical drama is imaginatively directed by Kim McMillon. This play has a cast of ten and Paul Abbott gives an especially moving performance as Columbus.

When these three plays are presented at Live Oak Park Theatre next weekend, a fourth play will be added, "The Remember Woman of Una" written and directed by Tennessee Reed. A supernatural, science fiction myth, this mystical one-woman show explores the Remember Woman of Una.

Flora Lynn Isaacson is a arts writer with the San Francisco Bay Times. You can follower her on Twitter.

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