Not all theater has to be Eugene O'Neill (not that you see much O'Neill around here, anyway). It is instructive to see how much can be said in a couple of pages of pointed dialogue. The Geriactors, "Rochester's Traveling Senior Theatre Troupe", is an ensemble of six vastly experienced local actors you've seen everywhere over the years: Greg Byrne, Roger Gans, Ellen Herzman, Darrell Lance, Linda Loy, and Jim Scholes. Their contribution to this year's Fringe Festival, which had its first performance at Writers & Books on Thursday night, is a smorgasbord of 10 short plays by Rochester playwrights, and a fun way to spend a little less than an hour.
That's right: the 10 writers and six actors wrap up all of these two-hand vignettes quickly and entertainingly in 50 minutes, helped by director Jean Gordon Ryon and music director Elaine Fuller. None of these compact little items is a dud, and most of them are quite amusing. Kory Andrieu's "Texas Veal" demonstrates just what a calf may have gone through before becoming your dinner. Byron Wilmot's "S.S.F.P." spoofs what might be called the psycho-singles scene. Ted Wenskus' "Salt of the Earth," an encounter between two old-school Russians, comes off like a scene from a Woody Allen movie (an early Woody Allen movie).
A couple of the plays touch lightly but firmly on serious subjects ("Don't Wait" by Allan Howe and "The Snow Circle" by Steve Huff). The other plays are by Kelly Yoho, R.H. Herzog, Henry Williams, Karl Obine, and Ken Klamm. They vary in substance, but none outstay their welcome.
The Geriactors are uniformly charming and play off each other in their various duets with aplomb. Calling them "old pros" may not sound all that gracious in this context, but clearly experience tells.
The Geriactors will also present Rochester Playwrights Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m., and Saturday, September 28, 2 p.m. at Writers & Books. Tickets cost $15.