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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 8, 2006

'Nothing Serious' plays just for laughs

By Joseph T. Rozmiarek
Special to The Advertiser

From left, Jaeves Iha, Delilah Macapagal, Jessee Lee and Malia Mendigorin in "Nothing Serious," 10 short sketches by Robert Orloff.

Donald J. Ranney

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Leeward Community College Lab Theatre

8 pm tonight, Thursday, Friday and April 15

$7 at the door


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"Nothing Serious" is going on at the Leeward Community College Lab Theatre and the laughs prove it.

Rich Orloff's collection of 10 short sketches offers a fine opportunity for everyone in Paul Cravath's Dramatic Productions class to get into the act. While their skill level is definitely mixed, this student production sustains a level of genuine fun that can't help being contagious.

Orloff's work is a mixture of satiric schtick and genuine playwriting that reads like sketch comedy, but also offers tidy, 10-minute packages each with a beginning, middle and end. Looking for love is a common theme.

The playwright also indulges himself with theater references. The show opens with "Playwrighting 101: The Rooftop Lesson" and ends with "Oh My God, It's Another Play."

In the first, a director interrupts an attempted suicide with a remote-control device to replay and reshape its dramatic values. The last playlet is simply a chance for the cast to set themselves up for a curtain call.

In between, we move from cold Antarctica to the warmth of the womb.

In both those extremities, Jabez Armodia neatly personifies the hellbent-for-laughs spirit that makes the evening work. In "Off the Map" he's a gleefully sincere penguin, happily explaining the joys of parenthood to a dubious human couple.

"I love coming home with a belly full of krill. They stick their beaks in my mouth and I keep vomiting until they waddle away happy and full. It's great!"

"I never knew vomiting could be so rewarding."

Armodia again plays an unusual character in "Last Minute Adjustments." Here, he's a full-term human fetus experiencing prebirth anxiety.

"All those things humiliation, disappointment, cruelty. I'm staying here where it's safe."

"Then you won't know love."

Willingness to take risks and put themselves out in a big way works well for the large cast.

Gina Brown and Tasi Alabastro play a bride and groom who negotiate a divorce settlement to calm their nerves before walking down the aisle. They also play a couple of strangers who fast forward a pick-up line into a nasty argument in "Nice Tie."

In "Adam and Eve: The Untold Story," Filipo Tuisano Jr. is a pleasant, flawed Adam, condemned to a future of telling unfunny jokes at cocktail parties. Berna Deleon's Eve is punished by having to live with him.

"Can This Marriage Be Saved" pits God against The Human Race as parties locked in divorce proceedings.

The 10 sketches are divided into two acts of one hour each. More than a class assignment, the result constitutes a genuine, full-blown performance.