October 23, 2014
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Broccoli’s brilliant Black Box plays in Cranston
Don Fowler

There has been a lot of interesting theatre taking place in Cranston lately, and some of the best of it can be seen this weekend and next at Artists Exchange at 50 Rolfe St.

Writer/director/actor Kevin Broccoli has taken a trending theme, the Apocalypse, and turned it into a very funny, sometimes poignant, evening of theatre. We attended the intimate Black Box Theatre last weekend, where 11 short vignettes, each featuring two actors, were presented. Some of the same plays, with different actors, plus additional plays, will be performed on the following two weekends, bringing different perspectives to the tightly and well-written pieces.

Broccoli said he wrote the short vignettes over a three-month period. They are better written than some of the “skits” you see on “Saturday Night Live” and, unlike many short plays, all have significant endings.

The concept is that a comet is whirling toward Earth and an 80 percent chance of survival is imminent. How a variety of people react makes for a most interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining evening.

The evening begins with “Social Work” about a grieving adult son and a social worker deciding the fate of the man’s grandmother, who is in a coma, while the hospital staff is abandoning the facility. It ends with “This Might Be It,” with the son meeting with his brother to decide whether or not to pull the plug.

If all this sounds like a downer, it is not. And in between are some very funny moments, including two men who decide to go fishing, an actress who has been rejected and confronts her nemesis and a Mormon on his first house call (hysterical).

In the first wave I only recognized Paula Faber and Broccoli (Faber was terrific as the theatre owner being confronted by an actress). The other actors, plus the more than 100 that Broccoli has recruited for the short roles, tell us much about the huge number of very good actors who have made Rhode Island their home.

You can catch this entertaining evening of theatre at Artists Exchange, 50 Rolfe St. in Cranston, July 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 for students.


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