Bay One-Acts Festival

If these three plays are any indication, the fest is colorful (if patchy)

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Runs through March 20

Tickets are $17-20

776-7427

www.threewisemonkeys.org

Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (between Battery and Front), S.F.

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If the three plays that make up Program 2 of the fourth annual Bay One-Acts Festival are anything to go by, the entire event presents a colorful (if patchy) mix. The night I went, the opener, Pancakes for Dinner -- a diminutive but perfectly proportioned two-person piece about the relationship between a teenager and her dad's girlfriend -- was my favorite. Ianna Sobel matches shyness with brashness as the gauche teenage pancake-maker, Jen, providing relief to Michaela Greely's vulgarly charismatic Alice. Vince Montague's bite-size play, with its funny yet moving banter, flips between light and dark like an expertly tossed ... well, you know. Next on the agenda was Ed Brownson's The Dictionary Play. A brainy sendup of postmodernist stagecraft, the comedy features two actors, A (Fred Pitts) and Z (Julie Cleland), trying to perform a piece called The Dictionary Playand getting themselves (and the audience) tied up in metatheatrical knots while they're at it. Though Pitts and Cleland make a good double act, the work itself feels rather self-indulgent: Luigi Pirandello's 1921 Six Characters in Search of an Author covers similar territory with more insight. When Josh Googled Susan, the final play of the evening, is a cute story about finding love in cyberspace. Josh (Max Bernstein) and Susan (Jacqueline Hillman), two lonely hearts, get together despite their respective parents' incredulity and initial misgivings. Although Elliott Kopstein's drama feels slow and repetitive at times and some of its characters seem clichéd, Googledhas its heart in the right place.

 
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