A Valentine's Day Treat

David Rouda as Aaron and Lonnie Haley in On the Nose by Rod McFadden

The Treat Street Theatre opened its inaugural performance last Friday night, February 10, 2012.  Their mission is to keep new theatre alive and growing and to support local artists.  This inaugural performance is in partnership with The Playwright's Center of San Francisco.  

This first program honors two prolific local playwrights, Rod McFadden and Don Samson and is entitled, Counting On Love--In the Age of Mappo...and other stories of the heart.  The six one act plays presented provide a diverse assortment of romantic and love-themed stories just in time for Valentine's Day weekend.  

In program order, the first offering, Counting On Love by Rod McFadden and directed by Carol Eggers, is a playful study of an eager young suitor, Vincent, refreshingly played by Patrick Bibeau, who skillfully navigates his way through the labyrinth of his newfound object of affection's dating logic.  Sophia has a Ph.D. in mathematics and is played smartly and sexily by Erika Perez.  

The next play, Sunday at Buckley's by Don Samson and directed by Anna Budd, explores the consequences of retreating from unfinished business. This is a phone conversation between Jim (played with nonchalance by Michael Belitsos) while at his favorite Sunday spot and his daughter, Lisa (played by Elena Marella in an intense performance).  This play has a surprise ending!  

Act one ends with Love Birds, a charming romance by Rod McFadden and expertly directed by Carol Eggers.  Love Birds appeared at the 2011 Fringe of Marin Festival to appreciative audiences.  A young man, George (Rick Roitinger) and a young woman Marcia (Claudia Rosa) meet on a park bench. George is feeding the pigeons and Marcia is reading a Jane Austen novel.  Both Rick Roitinger and Claudia Rosa are a dynamic duo as their romance develops.  It is a clever idea to have the lights go on and off to designate that 3 weeks have passed. Two lonely people find each other when reading and feeding.  

Act two opens with On the Nose by Rod McFadden and skillfully directed by Crystal Nezgoda. This is a hilarious last straw comedy about the heights of tolerance and patience one love can have for another.  Paul, played to the hilt by Lonnie Haley, is the patient house-husband and Aaron, naively played by David Rouda, is his oblivious bread winning partner.  This delightful comedy is a real crowd pleaser!  

Next, Sally by Don Samson and sensitively directed by Suzanne Birrell, is a tense domestic comedy in which two married lesbians, Lisa (Desiree Rogers) and Jean (Claudia Rosa) stretch both of their abilities to maintain family harmony while the kids are in the next room watching t.v.  

The grand finale is the World Premiere of Rod McFadden's A Sudden Past, set in 1929 at the dilapidated Temple Theatre in upstate New York. Director Greg Young very cleverly begins the program with a silent movie set in the same period.  Here we find Le Roi the Magnificent, as Vaudeville magician (played with style by Rick Roitinger) who is still grieving the death of his Talma (the beautiful Robin Meyerowitz) three years after her passing.  He looks for guidance while braving the fading Vaudeville circuit with his new assistant, Adelaide (delightfully played by Elena Marella), who has big plans of her own.  The fabulous costumes are designed by Mary Dollar.  

Playwrights Rod McFadden and Don Samson are unique voices whose work blends deliciously for a great night of theatrical storytelling.  Performances are at 8 p.m. February 13, 14, 17 and 18 at the Exit Studio Theatre, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco.  Tickets are available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/220963 or at www.theexit.org.

Flora Lynn Isaacson