By Naomi Serviss / New York City
Sometimes a soupçon
of a gourmet repast
is just the ticket.
Same for live theater.
Food for Thought Productions (FFTP),
of playwright Susan Charlotte,
is proof that less is more.
On March 28th,
the East Village’s Theatre 80
at St. Mark’s Place
marked its 22-year opening
with the always-smartly coiffed
and put together Blythe Danner.
comedic actor Bob Dishy
played the foil.
FFTP celebrates snack bites
of one-act plays
by Neil Simon, George S. Kaufman,
Arthur Miller, and other legendary talents.
Pre-Covid, FFTP offered a buffet lunch
before a performance.
On May 24th, the buffet tradition
The March 28th souffle
of three one-act plays
was delightfully filling.
Danner and Dishy
have worked together before,
their affable chemistry was palpable.
Laughter often erupted
from an enthusiastic crowd.
The trio of amuse-bouches
for an upcoming FFTP documentary.
Watching two pros pitch zingers
was a delicious affair.
They played off one another
with witty dialogue and gestures.
There wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
I was so close to the stage
(aisle seat, natch),
I could hear the rustling
of the script’s pages as they turned.
It was like eavesdropping on old friends.
Or relatives you still like.
Danner embellished her lines
by fussing with her hair.
Dishy’s lived-in face
spilled every emotion.
Expressive eyes and eyebrows
telegraphed astonishment or delight.
By turns he played
generous and forgiving.
Stage directions were read
by Michael Citriniti.
The performances were directed
by Antony Marseilles.
The three one-acts were:
by George S. Kaufman and Leueen MacGrath
Forward by the authors:
“This is meant to be high comedy.
It should be played lightly, gayly.
The action unfolded
in Alice and Bill Reynolds’
sumptuously decorated living room.
The couple oozes wealth.
They have all the trappings:
expensive books, art and domestic dismay.
Agreeing to separate,
to split possessions amicably
and without rancor.
They put dibs on the stuff they want
with a name sticker.
and a good time was had by all.
by Peter Stone
Oscar-, Tony- and Emmy-winner
Peter Stone pitches heat
on another couple,
Catherine and Harry Crocker,
wed for 15 years.
Harry is an advertising executive,
or a “professional liar”
according to his wife,
the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs.
Catherine suspects Harry
is carrying on with his secretary
And lying about most everything, to boot.
In a last-ditch effort
to save their union,
Catherine demands Harry
create a commercial on the spot.
The product? Himself!
If Catherine rejects Harry’s ad,
she’ll shop for a better deal.
What do Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant
have to do with Commercial Break?
Peter Stone wrote a monologue
recorded it for Stone’s classic Charade.
In a cruel twist of fate,
the monologue didn’t make the final cut.
But wait, there’s more!
Stone revised the monologue for Grant,
who also starred
in Stone’s Oscar-winning Father Goose.
Grant recorded it,
only for it to be,
Stone then developed the monologue
into the one-act play,
That’s show biz!
Tallulah Finds Her Kitchen
Written for Tallulah Bankhead
by Neil Simon, Danny Simon and Joseph Stein.
This is a monologue
written for Tallulah Bankhead.
It’s about a woman’s sparkly new relationship
with her kitchen!
The problem to be solved: how to use it.
A cast Q&A followed
the lively two-hour presentation.
Beginning with FFTP’s May 24th performance,
both Theatre 80
and a former venue, 3 West Club,
will offer buffet lunch.
Like the days of yore.
Covid killed everyone’s appetite.
We’re still cautiously baby-stepping
into literal life,
as opposed to two-dimensional Zoom life.
After the last one-act,
Danner and Dishy
greeted giddy fans on stage.
This scene was the most filling repast
without having consumed one calorie.
As the Dormouse in
Alice in Wonderland urged:
“Feed Your Head.”
Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com