A highlight of the evening follows intermission with the airport comedy of “Baggage Unattended.” Opening with a tongue-in-cheek bit of Sinatra singing “Come Fly with Me,” a piece of luggage going nowhere arouses the curiosity, suspicion and apprehension of a woman (Lin Taylor) whose husband (Ron Smith) does his best to calm her increasing agitation. Has the baggage merely been forgotten or misplaced? Or is it serving a more sinister purpose? Taylor’s acting makes us share the nervous woman’s baggage phobia and acquire suspicions of our own, unsure as we are if she is merely venting or else sensitive to a threat that her husband chooses to dismiss.
As if his turn as the overwrought thief in “Cinnamon Rainbow” wasn’t strenuous enough, actor Kacey Kelley Jr. returns for another heavy duty performance as the victim of a zombie apocalypse in “Bitten.” The spoof plays on the familiar cliches of the horror genre, with a staggering Kelley trying to shake off the curse of the undead as his companions are forced to cope with a threat from inside their chosen sanctuary as his companions (Shanea Gideon and Charles Cardwell) are forced to cope with a threat from inside their chosen sanctuary.
If tangled identities are more to your taste than zombie shenanigans, follow the truth-hunting Sheila (Nikki Pendley) to the office whose know-it-all executive Marie (Liz Kastner) is her best hope for making sense of her tangled life. In “Family Names,” the exasperated Sheila and knowledgeable Marie play the name game in a way that makes us wonder whether Sheila’s desperate investigation can hope to find the answer she is seeking.
The evening of theatrical short-shorts concludes with a spirited spoof ot the English mystery tale. With no apology to Agatha Christie, “Bon Voyage” takes us inside the aristocratic world of angry Mr. Smythe (Joseph M. Toon) and his murder-minded Mrs. (Dahlia Vocque), a crafty servant (Sherry Dumos), jolly Mr. Chubb (Ron Smith) and–look out!– a black-clad hitwoman (Angela Nicole) with an American accent and a fondness for sharp blades (a plot twist Christie never imagined). Armchair detectives may wish to put their skills to the test here, though the surprise ending to this caper could fool Sherlock himself.
While these ten-minute shorties are of varying appeal, they run the gamut from lightweight comedy to introspective drama, allowing theatregoers to see a spectrum of storytelling and appreciate the efforts of performers who bring unexpected dimension to their roles and at times a quality that lingers in one’s mind beyond ten minutes.
“An Evening of 10-Minute Plays”
Stockton Civic Theatre, 2312 Rosemarie Lane, Stockton
Showtimes: Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $23 general admission,