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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 20 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 29
Schmee's summer show is skit-tastic
Arts & Entertainment
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Schmee's summer show is skit-tastic

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

PARALLEL LIVES
THEATER SCHMEATER
Through August 11


Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney created a snapshot-filled evening of feminist barbs and layered moments of male/female interaction - with a bit of Gay-positive leavening - and called it Parallel Lives. They culled many of the 18 pieces from their work on The Kathy & Mo Show, so there is only a vague story arc. Not every piece is stellar, but overall, there are a lot of very fun moments, and the two actors in the production at Theater Schmeater, Megan Ahiers and Jennifer Chadwick, get to do dozens of characters to boot.

Two skits sort of bracket the evening: Supreme Beings Create the World and Supreme Beings (A Good Many Years Later). These feature a couple of angels deciding how things will go on Earth as humanity is created. They flip a coin to see if men or women will bear the babies, give men a big ego, and check back later to see how their experiment has been working.

In another skit, Kris and Jeff, a girl and boy get acquainted by going to a Gay bar. Mrs. Kenny Rogers is about a woman who dreams of being the perfect match for Kenny Rogers, while getting running commentary from a streetwalker. The hysterical Disney Mom Group Therapy has the mothers of Disney characters bitching about how they were treated in Disney films (either being dispatched before the film starts or killed at the beginning). There is also a somber look at abortion clinic picketers.

It adds up to a rather long evening, but director Kerry Christianson keeps the pacing quick and the scenery changes to a minimum. A satisfying minimalist set by J.D. Lloyd and Doug Staley leaves the stage mostly empty aside from a couple of steamer trunks at either side for the actors to yank costume changes from, and mood changes are mostly accomplished with lighting by Steve Cooper and fun sound design by Laura Ulmer. Jordan Christianson's versatile costume changes help Ahiers and Chadwick transform over and over again.

Ahiers is a pleasure to watch and always fills her characters up 110%. She's a little 'showier' in her character changes than Chadwick, who is a little more low-key, but both are up to the challenges. Chadwick also demonstrates a lovely singing voice as she pretends to be a cabaret performer at one point. The only piece that stretches their abilities almost too far is the finale, when they are called upon to play at least a dozen characters all at once. The most complicated sketch other than that one is Disney Mom, in which they play at least eight different parts.

This is definitely a good summer program - light but with enough of a political slant to make it more than 'just' fun. For more information, go to www.schmeater.org or call (206) 324-5801.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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