Under the title "A Spontaneous Smattering: Holiday Edition - Oh! Holy (#!@%*)!", Cone Man Running Productions staged a festive holiday gathering at Obsidian Art Space on December 21, the culmination of 24-hours of intense creativity, generating seven "instant" plays by seven talented playwrights.
Admission was $15, with all proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank - more than $700 was raised, plus more than 200 tinned goods collected - one dollar was taken off admission for each tinned good donated, up to five.
The excitement elevated when an actor seized his or her role and ran it for a touchdown. Robert L. Jacobs, Jr. was amusing and credible as a newbie to group sex in "The Missionary Position" by Bryan Maynard. Christopher Keller energized the stage as a hospital owner in "Teenage Pipes for the Hospital". Michael Raabe brought his imposing presence to the role of a superhero in Alex Scott's "An Examination of Intergalactic Holiday Traditions in the Year 2342", and J.R. Marshall made a minor role fascinating in "WWBHD?" by Leighza Walker.
Ensemble acting carried the day in "Virginia...How Do We Say This?" by L. Robert Westeen, a witty look at a 26-year old clinging to her belief in Santa Claus, as well as in "The Girl with the 'My Little Pony' Tattoo" by Nicholas G. Garelick, a foray into the spy genre - each playwright was assigned a different genre to tackle, and also had to incorporate a large plastic snowflake as a prop, and rewrite the lyrics to a Christmas carol, all within the structure of the new play.
Especially strong was the opening offering, "P or V", by Michael Weems, as two lesbians, played by the talented Miatta Lebile and Ruth McCleskey, are planning their wedding when one gets a most unexpected offer. The director who brought this engaging play to jubilant life was Aimee Small, and the other six gifted directors were Sam Martinez, Stacy Bakri, Melissa Flower, Rebecca Bernstein, Amy Pope and Tom Stell.
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Christine Weems was producer and mistress of ceremonies. This was one of a series of such spontaneous gatherings from Cone Man Running Productions, where theater artists are confined to a 24-hour time frame and compelled to create on an impressively tight deadline.