By Bob Bowersox

Throughout its 39-year history, the Red Barn Theatre in Key West has always found a way during the season to deliver something a little further left of center than normal … something eclectic, with unexpected turns and crazy characters.

Case in point: this year’s rendition of the Red Barn’s signature Short Attention Span Theatre, due to open Tuesday, Jan. 15, for a four-week run. Sub-titled “Enjoy the Ride,” the fast-paced show will feature seven playwrights, six actors, and six directors.

“We called it ‘Enjoy the Ride’ because we want the audience to take the ride with us, like a Disneyland ride,” said Mimi McDonald, managing director of the Red Barn and one of the directors of the show. “We want them to experience all the crazy shows we’ve chosen like they are on a theme park ride.”

How crazy, you ask?

“Well,” McDonald said, “without revealing too much, let’s just say there will be animal costumes, a seductive plant, a pushy cat, an overly-helpful, intellectual penguin, and a look into the dark corners of the minds of Disney characters on a break. And that’s just for starters.”

The show will feature short plays culled from many sources, McDonald said. Two playwrights – Mike McKeever and Rich Orloff – are associated with Miami’s City Theatre, probably the top short-play venue in the country. One of the plays won the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway 41st Festival competition. Another is an original piece by local actress/dancer (and now playwright) Carolyn Cooper. And there’s a Shel Silverstein piece – the late, celebrated playwright and author was always a friend of the Red Barn and of Gary McDonald, one of the theater’s founders.

The actor ensemble features Don Bearden, Vanessa McCaffrey, John Reynolds, Carolyn Cooper, Erin McKenna, and New York import Jeremy Zoma. The directors include Mimi, Gary, and Jack McDonald, Amber McDonald-Good, Richard Grusin, and Dave Bootle. The playwrights who provided the short plays are Mike McKeever, Rich Orloff, Shel Silverstein, Carolyn Cooper, Mark Harvey Levine, Scott Gibson, and Andrew Leeds and Lindsey Kraft.

“These are all people who have worked together before, who enjoy working together, and most of them have done one of our Short Attention Span shows,” McDonald said. “That basically ensures that it’s loose, it’s fun, it’s lively, and these shows have always been some of our most popular. Come ready to laugh and have a good time.” 

‘Short Attention Span Theatre: Enjoy the Ride’

Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St.
8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, Jan. 15-Feb. 9

Opening Night party on Jan. 15: ticketholders invited to join the cast and crew in the Opening Night celebration.

Tickets: redbarntheatre.com or at 305-296-9911.

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