For guys out there who are dreading the pressure that comes with planning a perfect Valentine’s Day date, there’s the “Short Attention Span Theatre” at Pensacola Little Theatre. Instead of the average “chick flick” you can see six, short comedic plays. Your girlfriend will think you’re original and you don’t have to see “No Strings Attached.”
“It’s a lot of comedy that portrays several different kinds of relationships,” explains Ashley Sapp, one of the three directors, in an email interview. “There are ridiculous situations and there are those that are closer to real life, but all of them deal with that sense of relationship, and all of them are bound to make you laugh.”
That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook from wining and dining your date.
“There are always dinners, chocolates, flowers and jewelry…that stuff will always be available for Valentine’s Day, but I’m not saying you should skip that stuff gentlemen,” Sapp said. “But these shows will never be seen again. We would love to be a part of your Valentine’s Day and from a girl’s point of view, I would be thrilled if my boyfriend took me to a show–after the dinner and flowers of course.”
The popular Studio 400 production began with three directors and pages upon pages of original and unpublished one-act plays. Each director chose two plays that are as diverse as they are hilarious. Some plays contain complex stage tricks, some have rich dialogue, and some are simply fun.
The plays include: “In his Own Fashion” by Robin Pond, “The Gig is Up” by Abe Jablonka, “Nothing” by Philip Dawkins, “Saver” by Mark Harvey Levine, “Up on the Roof” by Mark Harvey Levine, and “Undying Love” by Steve Gallagher.
Ken Armitage is directing “In his Own Fashion” and “The Gig is Up.” In “In his Own Fashion”, a father defends himself in court against his embarrassing parental tactics. The latter is about three thieves at a party who get caught in the act.
“It’s been a long time since I directed,” said Armitage. “I chose plays that wouldn’t cause me too many grey hairs. It’s been a great experience for me so far.”
As for the plays, in “Nothing” and “Saver” there’s more to the script than the titles suggest.
“In ‘Nothing’ a teenage boy and his father get in a heated discussion,” said director Ben Petsel. “Before they fight, the father asks ‘How was your day?’ and the boy replies using his imagination. He says ‘My school was invaded by aliens’ and suddenly everything he imagines is coming to life on stage.
“Saver” is much like “Nothing,” but instead of the imagination coming to life, it’s memories.
“In ‘Saver’ the whole play takes place in a living room,” Petsel continued. “Two people are going through junk and wondering why their dad ever kept this stuff, and then his past starts to come to life and interact with the objects.”
Sapp and assistant director Roxie Alyssa Smith are directing “Up on the Roof” and “Undying Love”. The plays deal with relationships both realistic and unrealistic.
“‘Up on the Roof’ is a conversation between a couple trying to figure out their relationship and whether or not they should continue with it, a conversation I think we all can relate to on some level,” Sapp said. “When a couple is dating I think there is always that point where they think ‘Is this the person I’m supposed to spend forever with?’ This show is an honest look into those thoughts. When I read ‘Undying Love’ I just thought it was hilarious. It’s a very funny situation…slightly unrealistic, yes, but so much fun to direct.”
The “Short Attention Span Theatre” will run Thursday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 12, and Friday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 20. Limited café seating is $17 and general admission is $10. Sunday performances are at 2:30 p.m. all other performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Whether it’s your first date or tenth anniversary, the best way to spend Valentine’s Day is laughing, which you will do plenty of at this show.
“It’s a great way to test their sense of humor,” said Armitage.
“That’s what I love about the theatre,” Sapp said. “No matter what goes on the stage it’s all entertainment. Plays are appropriately named because that is what they are: play. The actors are presented these situations on paper and they bring them to life for the audience. Regardless of your relationship there is bound to be a lot of laughter in the room.”
“SHORT ATTENTION SPAN THEATRE”
WHERE: Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 20. Sunday performances at 2:30 p.m. All others start at 7:30 p.m.
COST: $17 for café seating, $10 general admission
DETAILS: 432-2042 or pensacolalittletheatre.com