An Improbable Peck of Plays 3-D (August 21-September 7, 2014)

TAO is at it again with the third installment of one-act plays at the Midnight Sun. This one’s called “An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D.” Supposedly a peck indicates how many plays, but a peck is not that kind of measurement. It is a dry measure of eight quarts; the fourth part of a bushel, equal to 537.6 cubic inches (8.81 liters). I looked it up. There are eight one-acts in this evening’s festivities, so maybe they equate the number of quarts with the number of plays. Anyway, that seems just the right amount. All eight are so short as to seem more like skits on a television variety show — like something by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coco or Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman. I’m not sure why they call them improbable unless that refers to the main plot points to most of these plays.

Imagine this if you can: Pygmalion, the Greek sculptor who fell in love with the statue of the goddess Galatea, who comes alive and turns out to be a feminist who berates the sculptor for lusting after her body while ignoring her mind and her spirit. Yep. Pretty improbable. But if a statue of a goddess could come to life in the 21st century, I can imagine it might happen something like this. Novelist, actor, director and playwright Christian Carvajal made this the premise of his play An Imperfect Galatea, directed by Pug Bujeaud. Cheyenne Logan is delightful as the beautiful and headstrong Galatea in this philosophical comedy, and Bobby Brown is equally enjoyable to watch as the bumbling, not-a-clue Pygmalion.

Logan plays a similar part in Narcissus and Tiresia by Sammy Scott, directed by Morgan Picton, in which Narcissus (Sam Johnson) hates everyone in the world because people are ugly but Tiresia has an improbably cure for his condition.

These plays are all locally written and produced. The writers are associated with The Northwest Playwrights Alliance, which was founded right here in Olympia by Bryan Willis and now operates out of the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

For another comedy based on a totally improbable premise, look no further than the first play of the evening, Second Wind by Dan Erickson, directed by the duo of Vanessa Postil and Mark Alford of Harlequin Production’s improve comedy troupe Something Wicked. Valerie (Stephanie Kroschel) is a woman who goes to her doctor (Debbie Sampson) for a checkup. Her tests all come back showing she’s in good health, but the doctor is worried about something else, to wit, there is a man in a swivel chair attached to her by a rope tied around her waist. Apparently the cure needs to be something more than simply untying the rope. I will not spoil it any further by divulging who the man is other than to say that he is famous. Bobby Brown plays the man in the swivel chair and Dennis Worrell plays another character named Tuttle who is rather disruptive to say the least.

Improbabilities stack up with skits about people in therapy, or who should probably be in therapy. For example: Amy (Sara Geiger). Amy believes she is living in a Broadway musical. Or, more accurately, a life comprising songs from many musicals. This one was written by Andrew Gordon, is directed by Mark Alford, and also features Jodie Chapin, Maxwell Schilling and Worrell again.

My choice of the most hilarious play of the evening is Guido in Therapy by Beth Peterson and directed by the team of Alford and Postil. This one features Aaron Bredlau as the therapist, Sampson as the patient, Beth, and the unconquerable Ryan Holmberg as Guido. Beth is in therapy because she has an inappropriate relationship with her cat. She takes pet love to a whole new level. Guido is the cat, and Holmberg has the cat moves down perfect — the scratching, the licking, the grooming. I may never see another cat video without thinking of him.

Other one-acts filling out the evening are Next Stop: Reckoning by Marcy Rodenborn, directed by Elizabeth Lord; Temperature on Mercury by Bryan Willis, directed by Christian Carvajal; and Scent of a Man by Solomon Olmstead, directed by Pug Bujeaud.