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Aisle Seat: Food for Thought While Savoring One-Act Gems

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

By Naomi Serviss / New York City

The author at Theatre 80
The author at Theatre 80

Sometimes a soupçon

of a gourmet repast

is just the ticket.

Same for live theater.

Food for Thought Productions (FFTP),

the brainchild

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.

Predictably hangdog

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

will relaunch,

enthused Charlotte.

Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner

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

was recorded

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

cranky, exasperated,

generous and forgiving.

All convincingly.

Stage directions were read

by Michael Citriniti.

The performances were directed

by Antony Marseilles.

The three one-acts were:

Amicable Parting

by George S. Kaufman and Leueen MacGrath

Forward by the authors:

“This is meant to be high comedy.

It should be played lightly, gayly.

Never emotionally.

Thank you.”

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,

they determine

to split possessions amicably

and without rancor.

They put dibs on the stuff they want

with a name sticker.

Fireworks ensued,

resolutions offered,

and a good time was had by all.

Bob Dishy and stage director Michael Citriniti
Bob Dishy and David Palmer, head of the Arthur Miller Society

Commercial Break

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

for Hepburn,

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,

once again,

edited out.

Stone then developed the monologue

into the one-act play,

Commercial Break.

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.

Bob Dishy and the author
Bob Dishy and the author

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.”

Duly noted.


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

1 comment

1 Comment

Apr 16, 2022

Great to read your work Naomi and see you in print!

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