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Red Line Chronicles

Nothing seems quite as short-lived as being on the platform of a subway or train track. The train drops people off, picks people up, and they move on. Such is the mechanism of Michael Beubis' set of one-acts taking place in a Metrolink terminal. A few moments are spent with pairs of people who are in transit, and, in those waiting moments, snippets of their lives are revealed. No simple resolutions take place, and no one is a hero or a villain. It is that perfect metaphoric "slice of life."

Laurel (Christie Lemmon) and Lucy (Marnie Shelton) are two very dissimilar sisters. The conventional elder has worked multiple jobs and sacrificed so that the younger could have the advantages of college and material things deemed necessary today. The younger, who likes to call herself Sage and is "one with earth and sky," is leaving with an unresolved strain existing between them. They have only minutes to reconnect in some way that can allow each to remember what binds them together.

Ellen (Amy Larion) and Chad (Jeff McDermott) are high school acquaintances whose 10-year separation has seen failed personal relationships. Each needs to find reasons to try again. Gloria (Patricia Conklin) and Kenny (Ryan Conklin) are a mother and son who are poles apart in spiritual philosophies. Kenny has decided that Gloria does not meet his rigid moral code, and she thinks he needs to lighten up. Their bond is strong nonetheless.

Tony (Anthony Montes) and Gabriel (Kevin Elias), his son, are parting, victims of the upheaval of a divorce. Tony is trying to give Gabriel love and support even in the strained circumstances of a short custodial visit. Charlie (Ehab Elmezian) and Jerry (Joel Saravia) are would-be business partners with diverging styles and ambitions who can seemingly reach no common understanding. Finally, Jack (Bill Bolender) and Maggie (Tina Preston) are a long-married, divorcing couple. His failure to provide any stable financial or emotional support and his personal weaknesses spell the end of the relationship.

Banks of neon lighting by Cecil Schmidt above Tim Keating's neat set replicate the harsh brightness of a platform. Sound design by Brad Ellis signals the trains' arrivals and departures. The Elliott Caine Trio provides mellow and moody jazz that bridges the entrances and exits.

The cast brings to the scenes sincerity and an earnest realism. Director Beubis brings a light touch to these vignettes. Though brief, each situation has a neatly developed emotional core. Notable are McDermott, who brings an easy humor to his character, and Shelton, whose conflicted and rebellious Lucy rings very true.

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