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Value Meal 

Potluck, a collection of short works by local playwrights staged at Marigny Theatre over Easter weekend, included some leftovers. Many pieces had been performed somewhere in the city during the previous year. But most of the work was quite satisfying and proves many local writers are cooking up good ideas. Goat in the Road Productions' Whatever Just Happened, Didn't Happen... was a cleverly absurd riff on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. As clerks anonymously and tediously logging in thousands of pages of testimony, Will Bowling and Chris Kaminstein (pictured) imagined and tried to recreate certain moments. Troubled that they were the only people actually to see all the documents, they wondered if it might be a drama written just for them. The two also appeared in Gabrielle Reisman's more whimsical take on the private lives and thoughts of polar bears in a zoo, both observing and being observed. Dennis Monn's Freddie turned a hitchhiker into a frontline reporter, talking about the seedy habits and desires of the drivers who pick people up by the side of the road. Jennifer Pagan performed in her piece Nails and Notary, a crisply written bit about two Eastern European immigrants who run a beauty salon and talk in the vernacular of American rap. Pagan and Angie Joachim drove the piece with the irrepressible glee of two very determined women who see nothing but a land of golden opportunity before them and find validation in mastering the lingo of their new home. R. J. Tsarov's We...ll... featured a couple trying to find something meaningful or at least not tawdry in a bizarrely arranged tryst. The show was scheduled on short notice to fill a hole in the calendar, so there was a minimum of props. A few slapstick pieces were amusing but didn't fit with most of the evening's work. Several playwrights performed their own pieces, and overall there were a lot of inspired performances by a community of young theater artists.

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