Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Play of the Week: April 28, 2008: Bernice/Butterfly

Bernice Butterfly by Nagle Jackson

"Our Town" meets "The Twilight Zone" in this pair of short one-acts set in a dying Midwestern town.

In the first, "Bernice at Bay", the title character--a waitress at a small diner-meets and greets her regular customers as they stroll in for breakfast. Until its surprising (and heartbreaking) conclusion, the play is a solo piece written entirely for Bernice as she simultaneously engages in colorful and often hilarious conversations with the locals. When an unexpected visitor arrives and we find out what has REALLY been going on, the sudden turn of events is worthy of a cameo by Rod Serling himself.

The second piece, "The Butterfly Effect", features Randall, a verbose and somewhat muddle-headed fellow in the midst of addressing an audience after receiving a coveted award from the American Philosophical Society. But is he? His peculiar behavior, odd surroundings, and rambling digressions seem to indicate otherwise. When the play concludes--and the playwright links Randall to Bernice in a most unexpected way--what had been a sometimes funny, sometimes touching vehicle for a single actor becomes, once again, a useful little scene for two.

Scenes/Monologues: Monologues for a man and a woman that can be performed in their entirely or, more effectively, in parts.

Recommended by: Stu

Acting Edition
Bernice/Butterfly: A Two-Part Invention
Acting Edition, 2007. $7.50


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