Every year (at least) Zombie Joes gives us a collection of ten-minute one-person shows written by the performers.
Astroglyde 2017 marks their latest feature, sadly for only three performances with two remaining. Let me be frank, this is a treat just in time for Christmas (or Kwaanza or Saturnalia etc.). Try to go catch it if you can, if this review intrigues at all.
This year's selection consists of eight tiny plays, ranging from the quite good to pretty spectatular, poignant to funny, dark to pretty light, startling to comfortable.
A Mother's Love written and performed by Elif Savas, directed by Jan Wimer, plays out as a delicious dark comedy. Savas is a beautiful woman who makes herself into something of crone for this monologue that seems like nothing more than a mother giving her son an important recipe. It soon turns very wonderfully twisted as we learn why she has to give it to him right now. Seems the police have arrived...
The Space Between Us written and performed by Hunter Bolton, directed by Adam Neubauer, has a pun built into almost the very first line. C'mon! An astronaut named Major Tom? But it hinges on the simple idea of a man's last message to those he loves. Simple but with some real emotional kick and honesty. My only real complaint was the costume but creating a makeshift space suit is no small task so I should really shut up about that.
All the Scots meanwhile, written and performed by David Dickens an directed by Denise Devin, easily wins as the most ambitious piece this time. A period piece set at some point in history I could not identify, it gives the central character at least four locales to share with (i.e. create for) us, two other characters at least with which into interact (not counting the horse) and hints of a much greater story. Frankly, I think this was too much for one bite. I would urge the writer-director to expand on this, make it more precise, then maybe go do it for the Hollywood Fringe! Lots of promise here, but I think it really needs more time to get to the heart of the story.
Astroglyde 2017 plays Sundays at 7pm until December 17, 2017 at ZJU 4850 Lankershim Blvd (just south of the NoHo sign, north of Camarillo) North Hollywood CA 91601.