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Ignition Switch Review

From The Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Published: July 8, 2006
Edition: METRO
Section: NEWS
Page#: 2B

For most part, playlets as lost as relationships
REVIEW: With two notable exceptions, this collection of 10-minute plays on love themes never finds its legs.

By Graydon Royce

Staff Writer

The Original Theatre Company, a creation of Minneapolis actor Patrick Coyle, has lashed together six 10-minute plays in an uneven meditation on relationships. Playing through July at Bryant Lake Bowl, “Love, Laundry & Theoretical Physics” needed more time in rehearsal, more attention to critical moments and more energy.

As curator and director, Coyle did well in arranging the pieces – finding the slight arc of discovery, departure, fragility and secretiveness that go into amorous relationships. Only two of the playlets, though, linger in the memory for what they have to say. In “Ignition Switch,” Sam Post, a North Carolina playwright, offers a lovely and bittersweet look at two souls trying to fix their broken hearts. Within the metaphorical crucible of an auto repair shop, Coyle and Helen Chorolec feel their way through the pain of a woman dropping off her balky car on the eve of leaving her husband. It is a nuanced and sensitive piece of work by both actors.

The second item that rises above the others is “Little Death of a Salesman,” by Chicago writer Sheri Wilner. Again, Coyle and Chorolec clip through this short vignette seen through the eyes of Willy Loman’s paramour. How does it feel to wait in a hotel room, at the beck and call of a man on the road? He is there for brief and giddy moments, but she is there for the longing and uncertainty. Wilner’s play is a gem, and these actors catch the shifting moods perfectly.

Otherwise, this is pretty thin gruel. “Quarks,” by William Borden, is a metaphysical trifle that could click with sexy mystery in the right hands. Angela Dalton and Eric Webster are not those hands and as director, Coyle does not get them in sync. “Homeland Security” by Lily Baber Coyle is little more than a striptease, lacking chemistry or purpose between two characters at an airport security checkpoint. Post, who had done so well with “Ignition,” fumbles with “Love Poem,” and Stan Peal’s “Interrupted” is just that: an incomplete slice of life.

Perhaps this show will find its rhythm the more it runs. As of now – other than the two favorable pieces mentioned here – it has little to recommend itself.

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