Smorgasbord of Shorts
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Benjamin Privitt

When somebody touches you for eight years, your skin is worn down to paper, says Hammer (Benjamin Privitt) in a therapistís office. Heís there with his significant other, Frisbee (Jeanette Harrison), and theyíre trying to save a relationship thatís worn itself out into the thin paper of isolation. This one act drama, Cuddle Time, written by Keely Madden, is one of four thought-provoking productions now playing at San Rafaelís Alter Theater.

The second production, Drop, by Brian Thorstenson is a political and economic satire where the economy drops, people drop by and make drop cookies, a private in the military is always dropping for pushups and his young pregnant wife is about to drop a new born babe into this world falling all around them. Though the Drop cast is as excellent as the cast in all the other productions, the story is the least subtle and the production lacks many realistic touches like the proper uniform for the private and the man ordering him to drop for pushups.

But the third production more than makes up for the second with a subtle ghost story so intricately woven that the real ending shakes your very soul. Leaving, written by Mark Routhier is a powerful drama beautifully rendered by Tim Kniffin and Keely Madden who play the parts of a couple caught up in something that is at once ethereal yet full of the harsh realities of our world.

The last and longest production, Lorraine, written by Jeff Carter, is another subtle weaving of human relationships, which are thrown into chaos by a comic yet touching encounter with an animal. The drama walks a thin line between how much loyalty we should invest in our relationships with our pets and how much we should invest in our friends. Should abandoning a pet cat, because it is no longer convenient to keep her, be sufficient grounds to end a human friendship? This question shifts back and forth between all four characters, like waves crashing on a beach, and provides much humor. But itís a subtle, very sensitive type of comedy that keeps you laughing yet not without compassion for these couples whose relationships teeter between isolation and honesty.

This smorgasbord of short plays provides high quality drama at a budget venue. For tickets or more information call (415) 454-2787 or visit

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