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Town & Village On Stage

You have to know the territory to catch on to the title of the two short plays that make up Linda Segal Crawley's "Pineapple & Henry." "Pineapple & Henry" is a place - an intersection of two streets in Brooklyn.

The two plays (Ms. Crawley calls them acts) that make up "Pineapple & Henry," "Gourmet Foods" and "Al's Place," have nothing in common except where the action takes place: a small corner store that has had different owners and different uses over its history.

The events in "Al's Place" occur during prohibition, in 1931; the event in "Gourmet Foods" are current. The director, Scott C. Sickles, and the artistic team including David Loveless who designed the set and costumes, are the same for both; the casts are different. Performances at The WorkShop Theater Company main stage continue through July 9.

"Al's Place" is the more structured of the two plays. Al, played by David M. Pincus, sees an opportunity to get out from under the domination of his older brother, Sam (Raymond Alvin), by opening up a combination speakeasy and ice cream parlor in the store that their father has left to Sam.

Tough Sam, married, with three kids and a flashy mistress (DeeDee Friedman), has made his money elsewhere. Sam loves his brother and has agreed to give Al a start by giving him a three quarter interest in the property. Al, in turn, has taken on a partner, Stevie (Brian Voelcker), in exchange for Stevie's know-how and labor - Stevie can do just about everything. But Sam doesn't like Stevie and doesn't want him as a partner. Sam says that Stevie was just a janitor at another speakeasy and was fired for having his hand in the till. Al defends Stevie, tells Sam that Stevie was innocent and that he is a good guy and an excellent partner.

So the stage is set for conflict between the brothers. In this fine play, Ms. Crawley's dialogue is superb in dramatically exploring the dynamics between the two very different brothers. Wills clash, as does the battle between expedience and principles, between loyalty and practicality.

In "Gourmet Foods," Sport (Ellen Dolan) is the middle-aged baker in the wholesale food establishment. She has been around the block several times and figures that now that her daughter is grown, she ought to leave Brooklyn for an opportunity to start over elsewhere.

But she is torn; she has fallen for the Ukrainian immigrant architect-contractor, Val (Harry Peerce), who has been hired to renovate the shop. She has also had a relationship with the butcher (Frank Piazza). But because of her foul mouth, the butcher, so far, has refused to take her home to meet his mother. And what about the contractor? He is charming and nice to her; but does he have another agenda? Will she go or will she stay?

Ms. Crawley is an extremely talented playwright. Her dialogue is crisp and economic and she draws her characters clearly - in these plays, her men better than her women. "Pineapple & Henry" is a well directed theater piece with two excellent casts.


Gene Kilik

Published on: 

July 7, 2005

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