By Katrina H. Nichols

Local playwrights have dished up something a little different to end the TheatreXP 2018 Summer Stage run.

A total of 12 brand new, original short plays, some lasting only a minute will make up “Fresh Ink Shorts” to be performed Friday July 27, 2018 and Saturday Jul 28, 2018 at the Back Room Theater of Key West Theater.

The challenge for the playwrights is to tell a whole story in a very short amount of time. The challenge for the actors is to bring it all to life in a short amount of time. Somehow, they accomplish this and then quickly switch character and go onto the next play in the “Fresh Ink Shorts” series.

The show runs about 70 minutes and has a unique way of moving from one play to the next. The choreography and a syncopated drum beat pave the way for the next creative display. There is no down time with this set-up. The players switch characters in the blink of an eye and it’s on to the next installment.

The plays are done in a setting that is more than a reading but much less than a total performance. Stripped down to the basics of human interaction and emotion, the bare bones of the stories come to life through the talent of the actors.

“I like the idea of giving the audience more of an experience than just a reading,” Bob Bowersox said.

In the intimate setting of the Back Room Theatre, the audience will be so close to the action, they may even feel they are a part of it themselves.

“The audience will see people standing with scripts but after a few minutes they will only see the acting and the experience,” Bowersox said.

Written by Bob Bowersox, Melody G. Moore, Neal Ruchman, and Michael Marrero these short plays will be performed in a blocked, staged, script-in-hand format by an ensemble cast of Key West actors. The ensemble of actors includes Vanessa McCaffrey, Mathias Maloff, Tammy Shanley, Ross Pipkin, John Reynolds, Tony Konrath, and Rebecca Gleason. The plays move from comedy to drama to fantasy, and some will leave you guessing.

At a recent rehearsal directors Bob Bowersox and Melody G. Moore moved the cast through the series of plays and watched the show come to life.

Meanwhile, playwright, Neal Ruchman, watching from a back row was intrigued to see his short plays practiced for the first time.

“I have never even heard them before, it was wonderful” he said.

As he watched his play “Clean Break” performed a number of times, the actors made adjustments and worked to fine-tune each line, adding an inflection that wasn’t there before, and then finally finessing it into what it will be by opening night.

“Fresh Ink Shorts” is the last play in the TheatreXP Summer Stage performance run. It will be performed Friday July 27, 2018 and Saturday Jul 28, 2018 at the Back Room Theater of Key West Theater, 512 Eaton Street.

Tickets are available at www.redbarntheatre.com or by calling 305-296-9911.

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