Dallas — A few years ago New York Times critic Ben Brantley said “sometimes a bare stage is to its actors what a little black dress is to a beautiful woman: a showcase for charms that require no camouflage.” Daniel Garcia tests this in Somewhere Between Hello and Goodbye: Three Short Plays that are onstage in Teatro Dallas’ space. This marks another showing from Phatthedd Productions, one of the smaller troupes that are making a little noise in DFW.
The program warns of themes about assault, domestic violence, abuse, rape, trauma, self-harm and anxiety. The third play, He Will Be a Sunset, incorporates all seven of these themes. Woman No. 1 (Julie Petrasek), Woman No. 2 (Delace McMahan) and Woman No. 3 (Cecy Lozano) are survivors sharing their common sensation without really sharing much about their individual stories. They each ripple “I loved him” as the connective tissue among them. Representing the man in their individual stories is Mathieu Myrick.
The second play, Four Hours Past Midnight, is a poetic monologue delivered by Mathieu Myric as the Caller. This one can be more predictably described as angst-riddled, easy to understand but familiar.
The first play, Happy and Free, is the strongest of the three and the most interesting. Person A is played by Franky D. Gonzalez; Person J by Mathieu Myrick and Julie Petrasek. This piece is done completely in the dark—an excellent decision. Doing so casts the audience as eavesdroppers at best. At worst the audience becomes the complicit witness—seeing, hearing while remaining silent, doing absolutely nothing to change the events. In the dark the vocal timbres become more important as does the rhythm of delivery. This piece is well-constructed and the form is clean.
Franky D. Gonzalez has directed the plays, assisted with sound and lighting by Danny Bergeron. The actors share a connection through the University of North Texas. Myrick’s work stands out largely for its textures and gestural details. Petrasek, McMahan and Lozano are an ensemble in the second play but they do not really connect even though their characters have shared experiences. They appear comfortably separate, which might have been the intent but it belies the words spoken.
Craig is not afraid to bring whispered conversations to the stage. Somewhere Between Hello and Goodbye is a short but interesting way to spend a half-hour in the theater.