Making her playwriting debut at the Overtime Theater in San Antonio, Emily Fitzgerald brings a humorous touch to four brief sketches that depict various relationships — romantic, familial and even interspecies. Though each segment is too brief to allow for deep thematic exploration, there’s enough thought and welcome humor to keep the audience engaged throughout the hour-long piece.
The first sketch, “I Never,” centers around three friends (Miguel DiConstanzo, Sarah Nixon and Christine Quattro) drinking beer and playing the titular game until the father (Jay Overton) of one of them drops in to say goodbye before embarking on a rather unbelievable trip. In “Immortality,” a young man (DiConstanzo) who’d lost his parents in a tragic accident hopes he has found the ideal woman (Quattro) to help him produce offspring to continue his lineage.
In “Love Is Madness,” a college student (DiCostanzo) devises a most unusual way to get a date with a co-ed (Nixon) he’s had his eye on. And finally, in “The Journey,” a dysfunctional couple (DiCostanzo and Quattro) goes to a new age-type guru to address their marital woes, only to be overwhelmed by a bubbly receptionist (Nixon), who happens to run a number of interesting side businesses.
Directing her own work, Fitzgerald gets the most out of her words with good performances by a quartet of talented actors. Quattro demonstrates good range with her trio of characters, while DiCostanzo’s best part is the lovestruck student. Overton makes the most of his somewhat shell-shocked father in the opener, while Nixon gleefully runs with the juiciest character in the show — the hilariously exuberant receptionist.
Of the four segments, the final two are the most assured. “Love Is Madness” benefits from some engaging wordplay and chemistry, and “The Journey” provides a welcome sense of the absurd. It’ll be interesting to see how Fitzgerald’s style develops as she creates longer pieces.
A Numbers Game plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with special Thursday and Sunday performances, through April 11 at the Overtime Theater, 1203 Camden, Street, San Antonio. Further information and tickets can be obtained online or by calling (210) 557-7562.