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The Heck-Rabi One Acts
Cutting In written by Andrew Huff
Just Enough Time written by Tony Bozzuto
The Brutelles written by Ian Drife
The Studio Theatre, Wayne State University

A number of years ago, some broad named Louise Heck-Rabi donated money to hold a one-act playwrighting competition, and produce the top two or three, each year.

What to say about these? I don’t know that there is much to say…

Cutting In is a piece about 2 brothers having one of those deep life examining conversations, flash-backs included, while painting their mother’s living room.

Just Enough Time tells the tale of wrong guy, wrong place, wrong time. After being “accidentally” locked into a truck stop bathroom, together, Vee is led into a contrived homoerotic moment with Kay, who then beats Vee to death, calling him a “silly faggot”, and “part of the problem.” The critical element that made this more than just a hate crime on stage was in Kay’s performance; The more he raged about the wrongness of what Vee was wiling to do, the more you could see him as a little boy, hearing those same hateful words from his father’s mouth. The collective uncomfortable shifting in theatre seats was quite spectacular.

The Brutelles was the most involved of the three shows, owning 15 of the 20 costumes used in the whole production. In short, it is a family inheritance comedy. There is a grandmother, a mother, a daughter, an aunt, somebody’s boyfriend, and a walking, talking cuckoo-clock…and hand puppets, and - erm… personal massagers. Did I mention produce?
Shirella is a bit Third Reich, and the vintage suit was one of the best costume stock finds, ever.
Mother, Estella, is a Dominatrix-English-Professor-Serial-Killer, whose MO seems to be running people down, with various sporting equipment, 69 times.
As the result of an ancient argument with her sister, Aunt Maybella dresses as Raggedy Ann, every day. She is also the resident sex toy manufacturer.
Again: Yep.
Daughter, Louellla, is not too bright, and the brunt of almost everything; including a Nair and Rogaine prank. She also fakes a pregnancy for about 14 months…
And then there was Lenny. Lenny is ostensibly Louella’s boyfriend, but there is more than an indication that he is also involved with her mother, and her aunt. He is mostly a useless lay-about, with a weakness for being beaten with a riding crop. He is an Artist, his medium is hand puppets.
The cuckoo clock was a tough challenge, conceptually, because he needed to be able to move fairly freely. This mercifully eliminated the Painted-Box-With-Limbs plan without really having to think about it. I found an owl costume in stock, ditched the head, revamped the body, and made a new cuckoo head. Then I made a beak from fun foam, and a crazy clock face. Once everything was assembled, and work-shopped with the actor, I made a few structural adjustments, and finalized the make-up.