During A Voluminous Evening of Brevity, the small Red Room Theatre on East 4th Street expands and expands like a corridor in Willy Wonka's factory to accommodate audience, cast, crew and four distinct playwrights with all their characters, histories,and immense personas in tow. It's amazing that one theatre can fit so large an idea.
With A Voluminous Evening of Brevity, the Dysfunctional Theatre Classics , which has been "holding theatre hostage since 1997, brings together the work from a gang of four writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Susan Glaspell, W. B. Yeats, and Edna St. Vincent Millay - each writer unique and each with cultural impact. The sparse stage contains little but a window, a stark metaphor for the outlook of the author and the inward gaze of the audience.
The four writers initially do not seem to have much in common but after a short 80 minutes spent with their characters, you begin to realize that it's not the characters themselves or their stories that are the organic link between the four one-acts - it is the authors' relationships to their characters that is the connection. Each one act contains its author as if that author is sitting, looking in the window at his or her creation.
This idea is overtly established in the first play - F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Pink and Porcelain," directed by Justin Plowman. Rob Brown is Mr. Fitzgerald himself, introducing his one-act to the audience, reading the stage directions. In describing the scene, he presents a frieze decorating the walls of a bathroom in great detail: "The frieze is not in the plot, but frankly it fascinates me. I could continue indefinitely, but I am distracted by one of the two objects in the room - a blue porcelain bath-tub." The artistic decision to have Fitzgerald appear within the context of his own play sets the stage for the whole evening: the author within the context of his or her work.
Mr. Brown has one of the more successful performances of the evening - a night when many actors are portraying more than one character. Nicole Lee Aiossa (below) as Julie Marvis, the girl in the bathtub that "so distracts" the playwright has a great comic presence and is obviously enjoying the role, but she uses a caricaturing voice - as flapper and nothing else.