Margarett Perry and Access Theater
THAT DAMN DYKSTRA: The Boxed Set
By BRIAN DYKSTRA
(212) 352-3101 or www.theatermania.com
February 6 – 22, 2003
Directed by MARGARETT PERRY
Sets MARUTI EVANS
Sound KEN HYPES
Lighting THOM WEAVER
Stage Manager KEN SEMERARO
Publicity OPR/ORIGLIO PUBLIC RELATIONS
Cynthia Babak – Sarah Baker – Matthew Boston
Brian Dykstra – Patrick Frederic – Vickie Tanner
THAT DAMN DYKSTRA’s "Boxed Set" is a series of eight shorts all penned by Mr. Dykstra. They vary in tone, content and quality, but each is presented with the full enthusiasm of the cast.
Bookending the production are two of Mr. Dykstra’s one-person rap-influenced monologues, performed by the author himself. Fast-paced and poetic, both the opening piece, "The Mean Queen & The Thief of Hearts," and the closing, "Just Say No," show that Brian Dykstra has more on his mind than garnering laughs. The first, about a sexually frustrated queen and the slickster who talks his way into the castle and into her arms starts the evening off wink a wink, a nod, and a sturdy guffaw. The last, a diatribe about U.S. oil usage, Enron, and related hot topics is the most serious and searing piece. Though there are some very funny moments in the middle, THAT DAMN DYKSTRA is more thought-provoking than comical.
There is a very cute piece, "Motor Oil," about the difference between those who do things to protect the environment and those who just talk about it. Just the right length, and nicely played by Patrick Frederic and Vickie Tanner, this one was amongst the highlights of the program. There’s a cheating boyfriend/angry girlfriends piece, "Spreading the Word," that gives performers Babak, Baker and Tanner the opportunity to verbally bitch-slap one another. There is a debate over terminology and executive privileges ("Service/Order"), and a scathing indictment of the infamous "This is your brain on drugs…" campaign ("Partnership). There’s a discussion of ten-minute plays ("Smithfield & Cox") and an overly-long roommate debate about painting a bench ("The Committee").
With no scene changes, no intermission, and good actors, the ninety-odd minutes of THAT DAMN DYKSTRA just fly by. Not the most memorable collection of pieces, The Boxed Set, nonetheless, stands as Brian Dykstra’s promise as a playwright.
- Kessa De Santis -